I stood patiently at the kitchen counter, waiting for the toaster to indicate that the contents within were perfectly toasted. Two eager sets of eyes gazed at me, waiting for the meal that would be arriving in front of them momentarily. A few moments later, the toaster emitted it’s familiar ding, signaling that the toasting process was finished. I pulled two Toaster strudel squares from the slots and placed each on individual plates, to be cut in to smaller portions before serving them to the boys. I began at the corner of one toaster pastry, and then started to cut the middle of the strudel, until the pieces were child appropriate in size. I then moved to the next plate, and again, I began cutting from the corner of the pastry. It was at that moment that I realized that this was a rather odd way to cut food. I usually don’t focus on things like this, or other day to day tasks that I repeat often, but on this day, I felt compelled to notice that I was cutting corners, literally and figuratively.
In life, we can often find ourselves in this position, whether it be related to work, friendships, or romantic relationships. We find ourselves becoming complacent in our situation and cutting corners. No longer are we applying ourselves as we did at the start of our venture, and for this reason, what we value suffers. It is only when we discover, whether while feeding our children breakfast, or when another situation brings our perspective to the forefront, that we are not giving our selves or others the full attention that is deserved.
I continued to prepare breakfast for my children, and put their plates in front of them. They quickly devoured their breakfasts, and were then on to the next task, dismissing the food as quickly as it had been prepared. When we are cutting corners, we do the same. In addition to diverting our attention, we tend to dismiss the person or the task that should have our full focus. As I stood in the kitchen, cleaning the aftermath, I contemplated that over the last several months, with illness and stress plaguing me on a frequent basis, I had begun to cut corners not only in my personal life, but as a mother as well. I had become so focused on the stress that work induced, and the physical symptoms had created, that I was failing as a wife and as a mother. While working, I never had the time to have a full or meaningful conversation with a friend, and in the midst of every day life, including completing homework, preparing dinner, and other daily chores, I had taken time away from my children, and missed out on valuable moments that I would never be able to replicate. It was at that moment, that I vowed to begin cutting my pastry from the middle. I would begin, as a mother, wife, and friend, to start at the heart of my relationships, rebuilding friendships that had been neglected and giving as much of myself and my time to my children as possible, so that I would no longer have to miss out on the most important moments in their lives.
I encourage you, friend, that no matter what walk of life you come from or what stage of life that you are currently in, that you consider doing so as well. Start at the heart of what matters the most to you, and you will find that the only corners that you may cut involve pastries.