know when

I started out wanting to say something about how important it is not to hold back.

But before I got the words out, my mind took a spin back in time, dragging me along for the ride and before I know it —

I’m holding a fistful of caveats —

Caveats changed the title of this piece from “give it your all” to “know when.”  And maybe that’s all I need to say.

Or not.

Because now that I can’t get that Kenny Rogers song outta my head, I’m seeing the cards in a slightly different way. 

You see, my original thought was that there’s a missing ingredient in most failed projects or relationships that makes ’em cake flops.

And that missing ingredient is — uh — for lack of a better word — ooomph!  The human equivalent of yeast. 

Someone is playing it safe.  Giving less hours or energy because they don’t want to invest more than they think they’re gonna get outta the deal — or sitting on the sidelines waiting for a sign that this is “IT”— the opportunity they’ve been saving their best for —

And meanwhile the deal is progressing less than it coulda because it’s a few ooomphs short.  Upshot is nobody wins big and the biggest loser is the one who held back.

But then.

I had to look back.  And that’s when Kenny started to sing in my ear.  Yeah, I know I went for broke and that’s what I got.  Go away Kenny.

And ok maybe there’s something to knowin’ when to hold.  I hear you.

But honestly, I’ve been holdin’ and hesitating and watching other people win by playing worse cards than I got in my hand for long enough.  And since I’ve never been into foldin’ —

Maybe it’s time —

Yeah, I think it’s time.

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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