I used to love playing this game in high school.
A friend and I would challenge each other.
“Which would you rather do? Eat someone else’s boogers or your own poop?”
I know: Gross.
But it was a fun game and you really learned a lot about a person when they tell you they’d rather walk barefoot over hot coals than over vomit.
Sadly, I don’t have time for that game anymore.
And yet, I still play it.
What would you rather do?
Go out on a date with your husband or get three hours more sleep tonight?
Get up early before work to jog or get fatter and fatter?
Find a babysitter for tomorrow night or fall asleep to American Idol?
It’s… a bit of a bummer.
And I often find myself almost as disgusted by my choices as I used to when I’d choose booger over poop.
Why? Because I often find myself choosing my to-do list over my life.
For instance, I made plans to have coffee with a friend. Didn’t want to.
It was nothing personal. Frankly, when it came time to meet up, I was tired. I wanted to do the dishes instead.
Yes, you read that right. I preferred doing the dishes over having coffee with a friend.
In fact, I so wanted to do the dishes I think I might have even groaned internally when I realized having coffee with the friend would mean I couldn’t get to them until later.
Does that make sense?
No. But I bet at least half of you know what I’m talking about and could easily replace “dishes” with “laundry.”
Later, my daughter asked me to read her a story. Didn’t want to.
I wanted to do the dishes.
(I know… I have a problem.)
The next day, I was invited to participate in a community brainstorming meeting. Didn’t want to.
I didn’t feel like I had the time for yet one more thing.
And, you guessed it:
I really wanted to do the dishes.
I did all three anyway: Coffee date. Story. Meeting.
And, as has happened many times in the past, I was glad I pushed myself.
After my coffee date was over, I finally did the dishes. But I did them with a lighter head and a lighter heart, having spent the last hour engaged by my friend’s stories and feeling that someone was listening to mine.
After I finished reading the book to my daughter, I was struck by the worn binding and reminded of how much my oldest son used to beg for this boring book. It’s why we’ve kept it, despite it being so bad. I was reminded of the 3-year old version of my now 10-year-old son and I sighed. I looked at my 4-year-old daughter — my baby — and realized soon there would be no little ones left to beg me for a story. They’d all be big ones.
After I left the brainstorming session, I found myself once again so grateful for the community in which I live. For the people who not only support me personally, but who volunteer their time to grow this place. And for the opportunity to contribute in a way that’s meaningful not just to the community, but to me.
I walked home smiling. And then, of course, washed the dishes.
I realized, over the soapy sink, that winning is not the goal of “would you rather?”
The goal is to challenge yourself. Push yourself. Imagine yourself out of your current situation until you are.
And hope that boogers taste better than poop.