One More Can’t Hurt, Right? Clearing the path for what matters

The Cadbury eggs did me in again.  Or maybe it was Target. Both took their toll, the perfect storm of incrementalism.

I was at Target to buy cleaning products.  While I was there, I got some paper products too, and some Ziploc bags, a Yoga mat and headphones. And Cheez-its, of course.

When I turned the corner, there they were.  The Cadbury Robin’s Eggs. Post Easter.  70% off.  I mean really, 70% off.  I began piling bags into my cart.  They’re small.  One, two, threefourfivelostcount.

I realized I had an audience.  My observer gave me an understanding look.  “Addictive, aren’t they,” she said.

My reply?  “They’re for my son.”  So much for accountability.

My bill came to $200.  Is it possible to get out of Target without spending at least $200?  I swear the items have magnets on them.  I check out, thinking, I did not put that in my cart.  I had a list.  I’ll admit that a yoga mat wasn’t on it.  But please, don’t make me admit that one bag of Cadbury eggs was open before I pulled out of the parking lot.  My lack of discipline will be our secret.

I just wanted a little taste, two, maybe three, but Cadbury Eggs are the Target of candy.  I go in with a limit, and adding one more is just so easy, and then before I’m know it, I’m overloaded, bloated and hostile.

Incrementalism is the enemy of intention.  One allowance here, one compromise there.  Decisions fall like leaves, one at a time, until they pile so thick they smother the lawn.  I’ll write once I’ve switched over the laundry, I’ve filed the taxes, my son graduates from college.  Some things need to be done.  Some can wait.

I get chained to a routine, a path so well worn, I walk without looking.  It’s  efficient. But if I’m not  mindful of where I’m going, I might end up in Iowa.  I have nothing against Iowa, I’m sure it’s very nice there, but if my destination was  Boston, I’ve got a problem.

My pastor once told me that she had two immediate answers to every request.  “No,” and “I’ll prayerfully consider it.”   I like her philosophy.  So for today, I’m going to prayerfully consider my choices.  Maybe even  clear a few leaves to see the path more clearly, before I end up with five extra pounds and a year’s worth of Tide.

Do you have a hard time saying no, or give too many tasks the automatic green light?  What can you clear from your path to follow your inner compass today?

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Eric Martin

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4 comments on “One More Can’t Hurt, Right? Clearing the path for what matters

  1. cestlavie22 says:

    First off as a Mass residence I take offense to your Boston comment ;). Now on to those delicious eggs- they are more than addicitive! I ate a whole bag for breakfast without a second though! I believe I came across another blog post describing their addiction to these as well! We are not alone!

  2. TheOthers1 says:

    I’m terrible at saying no. That’s how I ended up at a bridal shower this past weekend writing down gifts when I didn’t even want to be at. I need to start saying no!! It stretches me far thinner than I need to be. I haven’t figured out how to clear a path for myself.

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