This past weekend I decided to change out the kitchen sink and the sink plumbing in my uncle's house. I went to Habitat for Humanity Restore store for cheap parts. I saw two sinks that I liked: one sink looked like it was ceramic (but it wasn't) and the other sink was white cast iron.
I bought the ceramic-like sink for only $1.50 total. The sink was doubled-side and had deep wells so that you could put more dishes in it (probably not so much a good thing if you hate washing dishes!). The sink was light to carry and the two drains in the sink were the same as in the sink that I needed to change out. And as for the pipes for this sink, I thought finding and putting the pipes together would be challenging, but it was easy to do! In fact, the entire job took about an hour to do.
But, I really wanted the cast iron sink -- and something told me not to get it. The sink was slightly more expensive at $3 -- which would have been over $200 if bought brand new. The sink was HEAVY -- so heavy that if you weren't really strong, you would need two people to carry it.
Being excited about this sink, I started to work on the plumbing and discovered that it would be a challenge! The sink was also double-sided, but the drains were in slightly different spots. I bought extra pipes and cut the pipes that I had. I've spent more money and much more time trying to re-route the pipes so that my uncle could have this beautiful, cast iron sink.
The job took so long that I took two days to finish the job -- but then I realized that the work wasn't worth it anymore. So, I used the FIRST sink that I bought and set it up in under 20 minutes -- much quicker than the first time that I set it up.
This is kind of like life, isn't it? We have easy, very practical opportunities presented to us, but we get caught up in the luster of opportunities that aren't within our reach. Instead of going for something that we could use right away, we strive to get something that is difficult to get and we would try hard to make it work. But then we realize that we've wasted a lot of resources chasing a dream that would be nothing more than a dream. We get so caught up in fantasy that we miss all the opportunities that are thrown at us on a daily basis.
The first sink was very practical (it could fit in more dishes), dirt cheap (less than $2), easy to carry, and the plumbing wasn't hard to do. No cutting or re-routing involved. In fact, I didn't even need to replace the pipes. The cast iron sink was not practical (the drains were in funky places and the wells weren't deep to put a lot of dishes in), very heavy to carry, and the plumbing needed lots of adjustments. Plus, it took too long re-routing the entire sink plumbing AND I wasn't able to do it without doing further construction work!
The first sink represents the opportunities that I could use right away. They are within my reach, on my level of skills, utilize my experiences, and involve something that I KNOW I would enjoy. The second sink represents the opportunities that I DREAM about, but have no assurance that I would be able to obtain them. They are outside my reach, have nothing to do with my current skills, barely utilize my experiences, and I'm not completely sure if I would enjoy those opportunities. But the opportunities, just like that cast iron sink, simply look attractive.
Why is it that we always go after stuff that we know we can't have, while ignoring the stuff that we CAN have? My daughter has some sensitivity to dairy products: milk, cheese, butter, creamer, you name it. While she is learning more and more to accept her limitations, she still gets excited when she could try out some vegan-based product that tastes like cheese. Why continue to torture yourself, sweetheart? Why not just focus on the foods that you CAN have instead of longing for the foods that you CAN'T have? When trying to go for things that you know would cause an issue, you would be working extra, extra hard trying to make it work out. Then at the end, you'd realize how much time you've wasted chasing an empty dream.
Look, I'm not saying that you should settle for second best. But be more practical with your life. You only have so many years on this earth. Why waste it chasing after dreams that may never happen for you? Would it not be more productive to go after things that you could use right away?
I'm an avid gardener that lives in an apartment. I have several vertical gardening towers on my back deck, plus I have extra pots to grow in. I already know of my limitations: I don't have several acres of land, but only 90-square feet of patio space. Some things I would not be able to grow without a lot of unnecessary hard work. I would love to grow watermelons, but they require lots of space that they could get from the ground. I would love to grow fruit trees, but that's not going to happen right now. I need to focus on what I could grow NOW, not on what I could grow some day in the future -- assuming that I'd be living that long.
Many of you are missing out on opportunities because you're holding out for that one, super duper, extra special opportunity of a life time. How long are you willing to hold out for that opportunity? How long do you believe you'd live on this planet? And if you do live long, are you certain that you'd be in any condition to enjoy that opportunity should you ever get it? It's like a man who waited years to find the "perfect woman," but once he finally met her and married her, he had a stroke and was in no condition to enjoy her. He wasted his life chasing a dream just to discover that he couldn't even enjoy it!
Instead of going back to college, why not see what you could do with the skills and education that you have now? Instead of moving to another state (or country) for a job, why not see what you could do where you live? Instead of saving money to buy the perfect car, see what car you could buy now. Instead of trying to find the perfect home, try finding an imperfect home and see how you could fix it up? Everyday, you are walking or driving or biking pass many opportunities because none of them look attractive, and then you wonder why you're not living the life of your dreams.
I believe we all were assigned to certain areas in life. Not all are meant to be rich. Not all are meant to be super healthy. Not all are meant to be mothers or fathers. We have all been assigned with certain opportunities that are within our reach, opportunities that may not look good now, but would look beautiful later on. These won't be perfect opportunities, but opportunities that are perfect for YOU. If you miss them because you're romanticizing about another opportunity, you'd be working like crazy just to make that dream work out. Then eventually, you'd regret bypassing the less attractive opportunities because you're working too hard just to make an unrealistic dream work out.
Dream big, but don't set your sights on all the glamour that you see everyday. Look for things that you know you could use right away. Those are the things that would make your life a success. Chasing unrealistic fantasies would bring you to misery.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.