“I saw there was a food festival in Flemington,” Babs, my mom, said on Sunday morning.
It was 10:30am and we were standing in my living room, the only two people in New Jersey who hadn’t escaped ‘down the shore’ (as we Jerseyians say) for the weekend. We were searching for something to do besides go to the movies. Again.
“I can only find times for 2015,” I groaned, looking at my phone. “And they say 4pm! Who starts a food festival at 4pm on a Sunday in August?”
After another five minutes of fruitlessly browsing NJ.com and Facebook, I looked at Babs.
“I feel like I want to see something I’ve never seen before.”
I said it facetiously, figuring I’d settle for some roadside tomatoes and a latte. We’d lived in New Jersey my whole life, a.k.a.
34 29 years. There wasn’t much we hadn’t seen.
“Well, there’s a toothpick sculpture exhibit in Morristown,” Babs said casually.
I put down my phone and stared at her, mouth agape.
“Oh my god.”
And just like that, our mother-daughter day went from mundane to magical.
All of this unexpected splendor got me thinking.
I’d applied for -and gotten accepted to- a Masters Program that started on Tuesday. On top of a full-time job, the syllabi for my first two classes seemed daunting. In fact, over the past two months, I’d spent more than a few days doing activities with what one could only call dutiful merriment. All things I had been looking forward to initially…
Why does making plans two, four, seven months out always sound so shiny and promising, yet the closer they come, the more we say, “What the f&*@ was I thinking?”
I wondered if Stan Munro, the toothpick maestro himself, ever got halfway through a project only to think, “Well, this was a colossal waste of time.”
What, really, made the difference between, “This is just a stack of toothpicks” and, “Holy sh*t, this is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before”?
Sure, sure, sure. We all know about the power of positivity and points of view and pots of gold at the end of the 9-to-5 rainbow.
But what actually makes us choose the straight and narrow versus the winding road, stripes versus polka dots, coffee versus more coffee? And how can you know before you click ‘submit’ that you won’t spend hours, weeks, months or years second-guessing your decision?
Do you think this was Stan’s Plan A?
Have you ever set a goal and regretted it? Not regretted it? Pretended it never happened?
P.S. – If you’re in the area, you can see the toothpick extravaganza for yourself at the Morris Museum through August 31st! (Who loves you?)