What’s the Expiration Date on That?

Justin Timberlake’s new song with Chris Stapleton (“Say Something”) came on the radio while I was driving my daughter to a study session on Sunday. She’s a JT fan, but this song, new album, and the halftime show have her jaded. “He just needs to stop. He looks more like the manager of a Burger King now than a pop star. I get that he’s talented, but he should just go be that manager.” Ouch.

I tried to suggest other paths, or maybe a slightly higher-brow chain (in her world) like Panera, but she wasn’t having it. “He’s expired. He’s the old milk in the fridge of pop.” Prideful-ouch. I’m still laughing about that one.

Everything has an expiration date. Even JT. Every job, relationship, role, life itself – you name it, it’s got a lifespan. Sometimes the dates are printed right on the label, and sometimes they’re not. Sometimes you can freeze it or keep it a little longer, sometimes you can’t. Either way, eternal is a myth. Even Oreos go bad eventually.

But expiration comes with options. You can just trash it, OR you can trash and restock, OR you can trash and replace.

We have to be on the lookout for things that have gone bad, and not just pop stars, milk, and Oreos.  The beauty of expiration is the optionality it presents. Expiration gives us a fresh choice. We can re-up on jobs, relationships, roles, and even life (it happens), or we can replace them altogether with something new.

We just changed the station from JT on Sunday, but that choice – that optionality – means everything.

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