Thing #39 – Conveyor Belt

Sissy and I were at the conveyor-belt sushi place…for the second time in two days. It was convenient and delicious. Plus we knew how to easily navigate getting what we wanted, which was half the battle in Tokyo.

We had two options. The first was to control our sushi destiny by selecting things from the menu – a tablet that made it dangerously easy to add items to our cart before pressing the “order” button. The second, and more fun, option was to grab the little plates that traveled down the conveyor belt. With this option, there was no telling what would come next. They were often things we never considered trying. 

Each spot at the sushi bar had a number so the server knew how to find you. I chuckled to myself when I noticed we were seated at spot 39. I stared at the little plates choo-chooing down the track, passing number 39 on our countertop. The plates kept coming. Some food was recognizable, some wasn’t. Some were happy surprises (fried shrimp!), some were confusing (french fries).

Sitting at seat 39 felt appropriate, like a metaphor for My 39 Things. I watched options float past me, knowing the next selection was moments from emerging from the kitchen. It was a metaphor for all the “things” that passed in, out of and through my life over the past 18 months. Plates kept coming down the track, whether I was ready for them or even wanted them.

Part of me has been reluctant to end My 39 Things because I’m not sure what my next project will be. When I don’t have something to pour my creativity into, I don’t feel like my whole self. What if I can’t think of anything? What if it’s stupid? What if it doesn’t make sense…like french fries at a sushi place?

But just like the little plates on the track, I need to trust my ideas will keep rolling. Probably not on my preferred timeline, and likely looking different than planned. None of that matters. I’m getting better at softening my expectations of myself.

My next creative venture is bubbling and I trust my ability to bring it to the surface.

As I enter the new year, I’m choosing to be a student of self-trust. Trusting my gut instead of overthinking. Cultivating confidence instead of second guessing. Seeking internal validation instead of relying on other people to make me feel like I’m enough.

I’m also trusting that I don’t have to select every plate coming down the track simply because it looks delicious.

Whether they’re ideas, creative projects, jobs, people, invitations, adventures or advice…I get to be selective in how I devote my time and energy.

I get to choose what makes me feel good and what lights me up. If it doesn’t give me what I need, I don’t want it. I’m staying focused on the “plates” that make me feel seen, understood and filled up.

Besides, there will always be something else choo-chooing down that track for me. Something I didn’t even know I wanted. I trust it’s on its way.

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