on simmering (or, 6 things I learned in 2015)

The past few weeks have passed by so quickly, what with Christmas and visiting family and literally hundreds of essays to read, that I've hardly had any time to process the end of the year. Thankfully, a few much-needed conversations with friends (who are good listeners and talkers) have given me space to reflect on my strange, often frustrating, unexpectedly and unconventionally wonderful 2015. So here, before I forget, is a probably incomplete summary of what I've learned:

(this leftover turkey soup-in-progress is not actually a stew. but whatevs.)

1. Life doesn't have to be linear to be moving forward.
If I can liken my 2013 to the beginning stages of cooking a stew (this is a sort-of food blog, after all)–shimmering olive oil! meat searing and browning before your very eyes! onions and garlic sputtering! something is happening!–my entire 2015 felt like a long, almost painfully slow simmer. Things seemed not only to come to a stop, but to move backwards: I stopped working a culinary job. I moved back from New York. My arms often felt like they were getting worse. I took a job similar to one I had in high school, with absolutely no idea where I might be headed next. And yet–in that job, I've felt moments of an electric sort of joy, the suggestion that I could be good at something and enjoy it, an emotion I had been so sure I could only ever feel for cooking. The discovery that there are other avenues for my future has been instrumental in helping me find a sense of peace in all the uncertainty. If I can one day cook professionally again, GREAT. But if I can't, I'll be fine. I'll be more than fine.

2. Don't put anyone on a pedestal.
People need room to fail (myself most included).

3. It's never too late to stop doing something stupid (and start doing something smart).
It's never too late to: Address that self-destructive addiction. Get fit. Stop emotionally investing in vague and confusing relationships (ain't nobody got time). Stop watching a bad movie. Forgive. Say sorry (really, Bieber!).

4. I can do It (the thing I think I can't do).
I am genuinely surprised each time I relearn this.

5. Most things I think are Important are actually pretty stupid.
No one cares whether you have a flat stomach or not. (...Right?)

6. It's O.K. to be lonely sometimes.
It's O.K. to feel like no one person "gets" me in a perfect, absolute way. That sort of dull, aching awareness of being alone every once in a while is the only thing keeping me from finding a savior in a (very unlucky) human person. And it does exist–that relational intimacy and fulfillment I crave–but not in people, or even myself. Thank God Buzzfeed isn't always (is almost never?) right.

With that, here is my short, sweet list of things I would like to hold myself to in 2016:
  1. Be more selective in how I invest my time and emotions. 
  2. Save $$$ to take at least one big trip (Korea or Europe).
  3. Keep exercising regularly. Sub-resolution: try to find the balance between caring too little and caring too much.
  4. Be open. Remember there is such a thing as healthy fear.
More than anything, 2015 has been a year of learning again and again that I am following someone else's plan whether I like it or not, the end goal of which is to make me happier than I can ever imagine, often through events I would least want or expect. So with that, goodbye 2015. Thank you for making my life invaluably richer in ways I am sure I have yet to discover. Hello, new year!

1 comment:

  1. Love and agree with everything. <3

    Especially resolution #2. :P