SEATTLE, WA–Chelsea Rivers had big plans in life. From a young age, she knew she was going places. Chelsea wanted to leave rural Massachusetts and move to the big city. She planned to travel around the world, graduate from a top university, start her own business, release a rap album, bang a bunch of dudes, bang a bunch of chicks, follow The All-American Rejects on tour, read the Bible, commit a felony, watch the final season of Lost, and learn how to order pizza in Spanish. Chelsea did all those things. On paper, she built an ideal existence for herself.
On Saturday morning, Chelsea had no plans. This was a rare occurrence as she lives an exceptionally fast-paced and exciting lifestyle. After sleeping in, Chelsea sought out a bagel shop with positive reviews via word of mouth. When Chelsea arrived, she was delighted by the wave of mouth-watering fresh bagel smells. She knew this was going to be good. Following a considerable deliberation, which held up the line for more than ten minutes, Chelsea decided to get a little bit of everything — an everything bagel.
Chelsea took the bagel to go and settled into some greenery at a local park. As she bit into the bagel, her thoughts swirled. “It was good, but was it everything it’s cracked up to be? No. It’s missing something,” an underwhelmed Chelsea reflected. But she was not solely talking about the bagel. The uncharacteristic slowness of her morning, mixed with the disappointment that inevitably followed a bagel purporting to have everything, shed light on the greater facade of Chelsea’s whole life. She was the everything bagel, tirelessly working to iron out the optics of her life, without ever genuinely feeling fulfilled.
Chelsea dwelled on these thoughts over the next hour. Much like the bagel, she didn’t actually enjoy her life as much as she thought she did. Chelsea hated The All-American Rejects. The final season of Lost sucked. The University of Phoenix is not a top university. Following a dark existential crisis, she started to wonder what could make things better. As she gazed down at her dry, over-toasted bagel, a vague epiphany hit her. “It needs a little something called the spice of life… and some cream cheese would have been nice, too.”
Chelsea keeps the remainder of her everything bagel taped to her bathroom mirror, serving as a reminder that optics don’t matter as much as genuine fulfillment.