I love my toaster oven. Almost every morning I use it to toast an English muffin, which I then slather with butter. Melty, crunchy goodness. The other day, I slid my English muffin onto the toasting rack and walked away to take care of a few routine kitchen tasks while the oven did its magic. (In truth, my toaster oven is a bit slow, so I usually have a few minutes to kill.) After a bit of time, it vaguely occurred to me that the toaster oven seemed to be taking forever. I washed a few dishes and read an article, but still there was no pleasing “bing” of readiness.
Finally I realized that more than enough time had passed, and that there must be something wrong with my appliance. While crossing the kitchen, I found myself jumping ahead in my mind to the process of getting a new toaster oven:
- I wonder how much toaster ovens cost these days. Will I be able to buy one right away?
- When can I get to the store to see what models are available?
- Can I buy a toaster oven online? I wonder if there are any on Amazon Prime?
- What will I eat in the mornings while I’m waiting for the new toaster oven to arrive?
- I’d better grab my tape measure so I know what my space limitations are.
- Is my space is a bit small for the average toaster oven?
- Maybe I could find one that also offers convection cooking… didn’t I see that somewhere?
Believe it or not, all of these thoughts ran through my head in the few seconds it took me to take about 10 steps. Simultaneously, I experienced a sinking recognition that something I hadn’t planned for was now going to be added to my “to do” list. I didn’t love the idea of spending time and money to replace something that I already had. The words “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” came to mind… isn’t there a song about that?
When I got to the toaster oven, I tapped the top and confirmed that it was, indeed, completely cold. I pulled it out and checked the back on the off chance that it had come unplugged. No such luck. Additionally, the oven was properly set to “toast,” and the dial turned to the darkness shade I like. There was no fraying, sparking or noise of any kind. Everything appeared ready to go, and yet, nothing was happening.
As I considered whether I could put my English muffin in the microwave as a back-up plan, my eyes traveled down to the “start” button. Had I forgotten to press it? Could it be that simple? I reached out my index finger and gave it a try, and to my utter delight the red light came on. Nothing was wrong with my toaster oven, I just hadn’t pressed “start.”
As I once again waited for my breakfast to cook, I had a bit of a “light bulb moment.” Wasn’t this little mishap representative of the way we approach so many situations in life?
… we do research
… we gather resources and tools
… we buy needed supplies
… we worry about what might go wrong
… we wonder if we should consider other options
… we set up a space to work
But then… we fail to start.
Preparation is important, but at some point, if we want to see results, we need to actually begin. We have to cross over the line from getting ready to taking action.
Pressing the “start button” can be uncomfortable. It may launch us onto an unknown path, require us to face new difficulties and/or lead us on a course from which we cannot easily turn back. But it may also bring us to a wonderful destination, making us glad that we took the first step. Such is the nature of change.
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Is there an area of your life where you’ve taken every step aside from pressing “start?”