The chihuahua on the accordion (and the annual Life Pie)

068-002.JPGIt’s almost time for my annual Life Pie*. This is something my daughters and I started doing years ago, when they’d come home from the first weeks of school (which starts in August here) with a bunch of things they wanted to do and join, and I realized pretty darn quickly that our life was about to spin out of control if we didn’t make conscientious decisions about how we spent the precious and unrepeatable 168 hours of life with which we’re entrusted each week.

So I said let’s wait until Labor Day Weekend and evaluate all our options. We’d each get our own pie to eat that weekend as well to underscore the richness of life, and we’d make these sweet (sometimes simple, sometimes complicated) charts to allocate our time in relation to our goals. We’d include everything, right down to hygiene and chores (and thinking time!), and it was always shocking to us how there really is enough time in the week to live your values and your dreams if you are intentional about it. We’d also see where our lives intersect and how to best be in support of each other while still maintaining autonomy and choice with our own time.

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I still do it every year, and I like to republish this little lesson I learned a few years ago during an investigative journalism trip to cork forests and factories in Portugal as I’m thinking about my Life Pie decisions, to be sure I leave room for serendipity in my schedule. Here goes:

You see one and you think (for some inexplicable reason, even though you’ve never seen this before) that maybe you’re going to see lots of chihuahuas on accordians, but you don’t. You realize afterwards that your only chance was that one time. You had to act fast. You had to have your camera ready. You had to not be shy. You had to give a couple of coins. And you did it — you got the photo. 

Life is that way. Be on the lookout. You never know when you will be faced with the proverbial chihuahua on an accordian. You never know when you will be faced with a moment to take a chance and grab an opportunity. You never know when these moments (small or big, simply memorable or possibly even life-changing) will present themselves to you — and thus, as they say, “luck favors the prepared.” Be ready.

* I thought I had this next year worked out, spending the next six months wrapping some stuff up, positioning other things to be sustainable without me, and then heading to the Peace Corps. But with that off the table now, all options are once again up for re-evaluation.

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