Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

So I decided against the almost everyday breakfast staple of cereal yesterday morning in favor of a couple of fried eggs. It's amazing how something so trivial can provoke a complete discussion of philosophy within my own mind. So this makes me weird, I already knew that. But no weirder than anyone else who starts thinking about things simply from doing a simple act.

I got to thinking of the phrase "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." I think Mark Twain had it better, "put all your eggs in one basket, and watch the basket!!" These phrases have lots of different meanings--I'd suspect the two most important being with money and things you do with your life. There is one lesson I keep teaching and reteaching my own children, especially one lately, that balance is very important thing in one's life. If people refer to them as "unbalanced" they "could" have a problem. But balance is also important in the amount of time and energy you put into all the things in your life. When you start to invest more and more of it into one person or thing it's time to start thinking about putting your eggs in more than one basket.

We humans are VERY good at putting all our eggs in one basket. At times I do it. My family does it, my extended family does it. Do you or someone in your family know of anyone who spends the majority of their attention, time, money, energy on the same someone? How about relatives who do this with the same person but not you? We often think that's because we have "favorites". This may be the case but I think it's deeper than that. We want to put our eggs in one basket--the safe place. And we simply are creatures of habit. We get into a trap of doing the same thing over and over with the same people. I have seen many people engaged in a conversation about person A never bothering to call or visit me, so why should I call or visit them...when they have no problem calling and visiting person B every single day. It's because we've chosen to put all our eggs in one different basket.

As I've "matured" I realize the importance of spreading the eggs out. But there are two baskets that are still fuller than others--my family (meaning my wife and kids) and my extended family (meaning my sister Janie, her husband and their kids) There is someone I know who has more baskets of eggs than anyone I know. This would be my sister Janie. She doesn't have anymore "eggs" to give out, she just chooses to fill many more baskets than I do. She is the first one to make sure when she is "back-in-town" to make it a point to see everyone in the family. Back home, her door is always open to anyone to come visit and she will make you feel welcome the whole time there. She is involved in so many aspects of the business she and her husband operate, and she is involved in each one of her children's lives to a great degree. She has enough time and energy for friends in her life  (and she has many!) She is a great example for me to see what a diversified life looks like.

With that said, I think so many people find it comforting to keep the amount of baskets small--possibly just one basket.  I have more than one basket, but I know the basket I have for my wife and the basket I have for each of my kids is huge in comparison to all the others. And this is true with just about everyone.

Because I have just a few larger baskets of eggs I guess I like the second part of Mark Twain's advise more so-- "watch the basket!!" You watch the basket with love, guidance, compassion, caring, and nurturing. All the baskets you have can never get too big, especially the most important ones, but in a heartbeat, baskets can be destroyed--so watch the baskets and enjoy the time you have putting more eggs into each one.

Oh and the breakfast yesterday was very tasty. I knew eggs were a healthy nutritional food item loaded with good amounts of Vitamin A and Iron, I didn't know they stimulated thought provoking philosophy. Add that to the benefits of the incredible edible egg!

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