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Sampling the Buffet

You might be one who decided by your fifth birthday you’d be a doctor. Every action you took aligned with that knowledge. You created your identity early on and never wavered. That’s not the path I took. In hindsight, I now recognize I was sampling the buffet.

Did you decide at an early age what you were going to be when you grew up? Maybe you changed your mind a few times before you got to college. Many invest years of their life and thousands of dollars in their college education, only to graduate and find their interests have changed. The primary value of their college years is their friendships. Do you know anybody like that? I do.

Last summer I sat across from the great-grandfather of the 2 year-old birthday girl. We exchanged a friendly smile as we prepared to dig in to our pot-luck style birthday dinner. I glanced down at his Minnie Mouse paper plate to notice his helpings of Jello and macaroni salad. He was obviously cheating himself out of the veritable smorgasbord of samples brought by three generations of family and friends. There was no sign of cold cuts or enchiladas on his plate. The stuffed mushrooms were no place to be found. A chicken leg from the Colonel would have been a nice compliment to his plate, but no. Conversely, I had all of the above which eclipsed the mouse ears on my plate. Add in some Swedish meatballs and some pasta thingy and I had a plate worthy of this kid’s party.

Is that all you’re having?” I asked.  “Papa” nodded as he savored the Jello salad. When he was convinced there was nothing left to chew in that bite, he swallowed. Our eyes locked. “Sampling the buffet?” he asked? “Absolutely!” I answered. I shared my strategy with Papa. “I get a little of everything, then load up on the things I love.” I told him. He nodded and smiled. I could see him forming the words in his mind. “That’s how I live my life.” the old-timer stated. I try everything I want to try. The things that excite me are the things I do more of. It was in that moment I realized my path is what brought me to the place I am today. From the time I was 12, I was Sampling the Buffet. I’ve delivered newspapers from my bike, flipped burgers, scooped ice cream and sold TV Guide over the phone. After high school, I was a painter while I became a Control Data Institute certified computer technician. I was an apprentice electrician and fell (quite literally) into the printing industry doing graphic design and managing a pre-press company. I had a publishing company and fell flat on my face. I kept trying different things. Hypnotherapy is something I’ve been doing for 2 years and is something I’m passionate about!

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2 comments… add one

  • Very cool post Bill. So many people feel regret for time wasted yet so many of us follow this pattern. We simply sample the buffet until we find something we are passionate about. Most people don’t decide what they want to do when they are 5 and actually end up doing that.

  • McPhee

    Good start Bill. I remember you scooping Ice Cream..
    Considering that you are out there attempting to help people on their journies, I hope this will provide another avenue for you to do just that.. Good luck with the blog..

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