“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.”

Leonard Bernstein

In the grand, often haphazard buffet of life, where the main course is an unpredictable mix of joy and chaos, and dessert is always a question mark, it’s easy to forget the menu altogether. We often drift through our days like a shopper in a supermarket without a list, ending up with a cart full of unnecessary condiments and no idea what to do with that random artichoke. It’s the same with time—we think we have an endless supply until the store announces it’s closing in five minutes.

Now, as someone who once tried to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, I can tell you, plans are important. They’re the recipe for the cake you’re trying to bake called Your Life. Sure, you can wing it, but do you really want a cake that tastes like existential dread and missed opportunities? I think not.

And speaking of plans, let’s not forget the essential ingredient that makes everything a bit more exciting—the lack of time. Nothing makes a person more creative than the looming presence of a deadline. It’s like telling a kid they have five minutes left at a candy store; you’ve never seen such efficient decision-making skills.

But here’s where it gets interesting. We’re all in this big, cosmic kitchen together, trying to whip up something meaningful with our lives. And while we’re busy measuring out our hopes and dreams, we often forget the most important part of any recipe: the people we cook with.

Life, much like a group cooking class, is less about the perfect meal and more about the flour fights and accidental fires along the way. It’s about those moments when you look around and realize that these people, these wonderfully imperfect sous-chefs of your life, are what make the whole chaotic process worthwhile.

So yes, make plans. Scribble them on napkins, carve them into the margins of your life. But remember, the clock is ticking. Not to sound like a motivational poster, but seize the day, or at least seize something. Preferably not the neighbor’s lawn gnome, though. That’s a different story.

In the end, as we all hustle in our metaphorical kitchens, let’s not forget to taste as we go. Love big, laugh often, and maybe—just for kicks—throw an extra dash of nutmeg into the mix. After all, who knows what magic a little spice and a ticking clock can conjure up in the grand feast of life?

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.