Yesterday was my birthday. Reflection can’t be escaped, calculating what age is officially “Middle Aged.” People live longer these days. My grandmother just passed away, two weeks shy of her 97th birthday. She was an amazing woman to the end, always a rake nearby, the woman would heave giant roots from the earth. Her yard resembled a rain forest, compete with a banana tree. She was a phenomenal chef, would cook up a meal for 15 people without notice. People would stop by, and you almost didn’t notice she was even cooking. She didn’t miss a conversation, or a cocktail, as she seemingly effortlessly created a feast. She didn’t use recipes. She just followed her joys: gardening, cooking, and entertaining.
We cannot go wrong when we follow what brings us the most joy. For me I’ve struggled with focus, given that I’m passionate about so many things! It’s similar to being paralyzed from too many choices.
FOOD LOVE. Introducing new foods and flavors to my children, infusing them with my zest and appreciation, learning to relish. The other day I told them that we all show our love in different ways. I express my love through food. I read cookbooks and recipes for pleasure, in particular The Flavor Bible, an encyclopedia of flavor profiles that feels like an artist’s palette.
WATERCOLOR. I’m also obsessed with watercolor techniques and painting. Drawing. Learning. I have such a lust for learning. It excites me. Abigail takes a classic techniques art class and I’m jealous. I want to take a pastel or watercolor class, too. It might be my birthday present to myself.
THEATER. I took drama classes when I was younger, loved singing and acting. I could easily see myself now auditioning for a local production. It’s play, literally. I live for improv games.
STORY. I have a love of story, obviously. Movies are my favorite, analyzing plots, curious about the HOW. How does the writer decide when to flash-forward in the storytelling, letting the reader/audience know what is about to happen, and what’s the advantage in doing so? I don’t listen to music in my car, only audiobooks. I love driving and running errands because I can’t wait to get back to the book.
These are things that bring me joy. Not focus or clarity, but joy. In this coming year, don’t talk about your joy, follow it without apology. I’ve said it before. Look at how you’re spending your time and make sure it reflects your joy.
ROSH HASHANAH. Now I’m off to buy no less than three varieties of apples to bake a pie for Rosh Hashanah. We are going to my cousin’s home. I’m making roasted chicken with saffron, hazelnuts, and honey (24 thighs to feed a party of 12); an apple blondie cheesecake with Vietnamese cinnamon whipped cream; a brown sugar pecan noodle kugel bundt; Sugar & Nut glazed brie with apple slices for dipping.