In my parents’ cupboard when I was a kid, there were canned products that we used all the time. Chicken noodle soup, tomato paste and green beans were in heavy rotation toward the front door. They would come in, go out and be replaced by their can cousin at the next shopping trip. Toward the back of the cupboard were the ancient staples like the can of cream of mushroom from 1985 or its even stranger companion, evaporated milk (no idea what that is). These cans were born with purpose and hope. However their lives never reached fulfillment because they were forgotten after they were crossed off of the grocery list and standing by for “someday”. Having the can in the cupboard was enough. We never actually had to do anything with it.
As I edge ever closer to 40 years old, I look at my unopened “cans” and I am awestruck by what I’ve left behind. I’m no longer talking about tin and aluminum but rather the things that I left undone because I know that I can, so I don’t have to.
- I can lose 15 lbs, so I don’t have to.
- I can run that 10 mile race in 1:15:00 or less, so I don’t have to.
- I can reach out to great friends and family at any time, so I don’t have to.
- I can be a great husband, so I don’t have to be all the time.
- I can go to the gym daily and get into great shape, so I don’t have to.
- I can make something better of myself, so I don’t have to.
The knowledge that “I can” has kept me from doing so many things that I know that I should. The problem with most of these cans is that I know that I can because I’ve done them before. If these unopened cans were put into regular use, my life would be exponentially better. Perhaps it’s time to open some of these cans and see, not what’s inside of them but what’s inside of me. (Note: not everything that you can do falls into the “SHOULD” category. Some cans are better left on the shelf.)
Is your cupboard full of dusty cans? Did I just open up a “can of worms”? Or do you now feel the need to open a “can of whoopass” on yourself and your life? As you find the courage to do the things that you know that you can, you’ll also see the possibility of doing some things that you thought you could not!