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If All the Eggs Crack, There Will Still be More Chickens
Society for the last century has glorified the well rounded. Those without sharp edges, perfectly symmetrical, split in the different facets of their lives in nice equal chunks, no one bigger than the other. These globe shaped people are spherical in personality, constantly revolving on their central axis in a never changing orbit. They know some success, have experienced some failure, but never enough to stray from their comfortable positions. These people have woven many baskets and take multiple trips to the hen house each morning, patiently placing one warm egg after another into its own personal transporter, safe and sound. Each egg is then used separately in the kitchen--in a scant omelet, a tasteless cake, dry cookies. All is well and good, no egg cracked along the way, all accounted for.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This phrase is ingrained in the minds of those spherical people who fear nothing more than yolk seeping across the floor in a rubble of eggshells. Those who fear nothing more than failure.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. This well used proverb obviously comes from agrarian roots, where there was no room for a wasted egg. An origin wearing overalls and with hay between its teeth is no surprise--I mean who owns chickens except farmers? Don’t answer that. My Grammy grew up in a one-bison town in the middle of Nowhere, South Dakota. The only daughter with 3 older brothers, the barn was her playground and hen house her classroom. In that small wooden structure with red walls and a door small enough for a gnome, my Grammy learned about roosters, hens, and frugality. She learned that if she gathered every one of her ovular prizes into one wicker basket, there was a chance, however unlikely, they would never make it to the kitchen. No matter how careful she chose to be, she may trip over the cat as it streaked across the farm in pursuit of a mouse, sending a cascade of eggs plummeting to their demise. So though it would take the second hand several more revolutions around the clock, she took the time to separate her eggs and carry them in shifts, heightening the probability at least one would become her breakfast.
Farms and unborn chickens don’t really have anything to do with the core of this proverb, they are simply an analogy to portray a commonly accepted ideal: being well rounded. Taking some of your assets and separating them into different aspects of your life, creates back-up plans in case one doesn't work out. Everyone knows that person who is senator of Student Council, a 3 sport varsity athlete his junior and senior year, 4th chair violin, was Marvolio is the fall production of Romeo and Juliet, ranks 17th in the class, and has had the same friends since kindergarten. Billy, if he must have a name, has figuratively put his eggs in different baskets. Now figuratively pat him on the back. As simple as that.
However, I must contradict Thoreau and say nothing is ever that simple.
This proverbs comes in two parts, can be interpreted 2 ways. You can say its the partitioning of your energy- into different aspects of your life, or not focusing all your assets into one thing- always having back up plans. Neither method of living works for me. I throw all my eggs into one basket and skip away, my basket swinging haphazardly at my side. I focus all my passion into one thing, give it my all, neglect the possibility of failure. Failure will come, it is inevitable and integral to success, but I’m not afraid of it. You could be Billy, separating his passion into small pieces, guaranteeing small amounts of success, small chances of failure. Or you could choice to go all out, all or nothing, no glances back. You will never achieve the perfect round shape of those like Billy, but being symmetrical is overrated.
It is good to have many passions, to explore the many colors of life. But to throw yourself headlong into a bottomless pit of passion with no harness or pully--now that’s living. I play soccer. I spend four days a week on average at practice or a game. I have spent thousands of dollars in gas, plane tickets, hotel rooms, reffing fees, uniforms, cleats, and energy so I can excel at a game I love. And I do. I have played in Italy and Seattle, Denver and West Virgina, Florida and Texas. I have sweated out my soul in 110 degree weather and frozen my whole body while slide tackling in snow. I have shed gallons of water in tears over losses, disappoint and rejection. I have burned billion of calories from my racing heart, beating with constant passion. But there are others who have put in more hours, more energy, more passion into the sport I love. They throw every egg they own into their soccer bag, place their chickens in the back of the car and never put the soccer ball down. These players have succeeded even more than I have, gone even farther. They have one basket, that is all, far fewer than even I. And believe me, that one basket has gotten them far. To California with the national team, to a Tar Heels jersey on a full ride, to the podium with a gold medal around their neck. But I don’t live in regret or shame, for passion can never die away and you can switch destination in between. But If your destination is in sight and require a dozen eggs, then half a dozen will never be enough.
Senior year is coming around. Deadlines are approaching. You have spent the whole summer, your whole life, preparing to submit that application tot Yale. You have double, triple checked your essays, sealed your teacher recommendations and ripped out your heart, packaged it up, and sent it express to New Haven, Connecticut. The last three years have been spent in blue and white, you named your bulldog Eli, you sleep in your hood-less navy sweatshirt. Every test taken, every SAT words learned, was done with the Gothic halls of Yale in the forefront of your mind. You worked so hard, threw every drop of sweat and late night into the hope of one day seeing the words “Congratulations” on a cream colored sheet of paper, under the words “Lux et Veritas”. December 15th comes, your hand tremble as your tear open the envelope to reveal the words-Deferred.
Okay, so your energy and effort was Northeasternly bound. You may want to burn those sweatshirts and banners and dreams, sell your dog, but all is not lost. You put all your eggs in a basket adorned in Blue and White, all of which were crushed by the paws of a bulldog. But the chickens remain unharmed. Those you have raised your whole life to lay the eggs of your hard work. Those hens are still thriving, still well equipped to lay more eggs. So though you won’t be frying them in a cozy residential college, eggs are good where ever they are eaten. By focusing all your efforts on getting into Yale, you set yourself up for success in other part of your life. So buy a train ticket for Providence, Brown’s in need of a chicken farmer.
Everyone needs a green light at the end of a dock to fuel them. That orgiastic future to anticipate. A goal that may never be reached, but creates an incredible life in its pursuit. Throwing all your eggs, basket and all, towards that green light is worth a try-- you never know, they may reach it across the bay. The significance does not lie in the end product, but in the journey, from the idea’s manifestation onward. It is not the omelet, but the voyage from the hen house, which defines your life. So don’t put your eggs in one basket, live a safe live, be well rounded. Or follow me, full speed towards the dock, arms stretched out, one basket in hand, ceaselessly into the future.