On Monday afternoon, as the long weekend was wrapping up, I wrote about the importance of planning.
I’d had that topic on my mind because I’d failed to plan the work I wanted to get done on Saturday.
As a result, both Saturday and Sunday were full of frustrating, distracted, halfhearted attempts to be productive. Not a great way to spend what could have been a satisfying and enjoyable long weekend.
Another area where I failed to plan (and thereby planned to fail) was in not planning enough restorative, fun stuff for myself, either.
By Sunday midday, I was feeling adrift. My efforts to work weren’t panning out, but I drew a blank on what the alternative could be. A familiar kind of malaise, lonesomeness, and melancholy started to circle me.
Looking back on it now, I realize how silly it was that I had that momentary feeling of not knowing what to do with myself.
Silly because finding and planning enjoyable things to do is actually one of my biggest strengths.
I travel alone as often as I can. I’ve done so more since the pandemic, which was a wakeup call for me; it reminded me that life is short, anything can happen, and there’s no use delaying anything.
I exited lockdown with a commitment to living in and for the present. Consequently, I took a few trips last year.
Wherever I went, there would at some point be an inevitable conversation with a stranger—maybe a few conversations—in which I’d be asked why I was traveling by myself.
Why was I by myself? Was I lonely? Did I ever feel unsafe?
The curiosity is natural and comes from a good place. But to be honest, these questions make me lonelier and more self-conscious than traveling solo does.
Otherwise, I’m my strongest self when I’m in a new place on my own.
When I travel, I do what I sometimes struggle to do—and know that I must do—at home. I’m my own best friend, my own reason for being, my own advocate and protector.
I begin each day with the intention of having pleasurable, interesting experiences. I wait for nothing and no one.
As this past weekend approached, I wondered whether I might be able to summon up this traveler’s mentality, in spite of the fact that I was home, it was bitterly cold outside, and a part of me wanted to wrap myself in a blanket and not move for two days.
In the end, I summoned it with gusto.
Within a few hours, I’d found out that a local museum would be having free admission on Friday. As it so happens, the museum houses a new cafe that I’ve wanted to go to.
I bought a ticket and made a reservation for dinner. Over dinner, I started a new book.
I signed up for a new wine class and made plans with a friend to do yoga and meditation in a new space. I started looking into some possible places to eat during NYC restaurant week, when there good deals at great places.
Yesterday morning, I traded coffee at home for an outing to a new (to me) coffee shop. The walk there was cold, and I wondered why I’d left my apartment.
I ended up halving a really nice chat with the barista, who offered me a few neighborhood recommendations. I sipped a delightful mocha on my walk home.
I didn’t regret the fifteen minute walk. I rarely regret any new experience, even if I struggle to get myself out the door.
As this new week begins, I invite you to do something new or to see something with fresh eyes.
You don’t have to leave your country, city, town, or even your home, to do this. It can be as simple as trying a new recipe, connecting with a stranger while you wait in line for groceries, checking out a new eatery, or taking a different route from one place to another.
There’s so much to do once we decide to start doing. There’s so much to see when we open our eyes.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
2. A friend of mine told me that she made mushroom Wellington for Christmas and loved it, which got me searching for a recipe to try. Nicole’s version looks excellent.
3. This wintery weather makes a piping hot dish of vegan scalloped potatoes sound especially appealing.
5. I love baking with citrus at this time of year. I’ll have to give Christina’s orange olive oil loaf cake a try.
1. There’s growing awareness about the fact that the supplement industry is largely unregulated. This article offers a slightly different, more holistic critique of excessive reliances on supplements.
2. Feeling the winter blues? Be kind. (To yourself, too.)
3. Are you a fellow small space dweller? I got a kick on this article about adding more storage space to your kitchen when building new cabinetry is most definitely not an option.
4. Nautilus reports on interesting new research that ties biological aging to decreased communication between cellular mitochondria.
5. It takes as long as it takes, and some lessons seem to take me forever. I feel a lot of gratitude for this invitation.
I’m excited to find small ways of feeling like a tourist—eyes wide open, ready to do or see something new—in my own life this week.
Happy Saturday, all. It is a beautiful spring morning here in New York, and I’m looking forward to savoring a little sunshine today. Tomorrow is the Just Food Conference at Teacher’s College, an event that gathers food justice advocates to talk about creating a more sustainable and equitable food system. I’ll be doing a presentation and demo on cooking with pulses as a sustainable, inexpensive protein source, and sharing some easy recipes from my kitchen and Food52 Vegan. I’m excited to connect with…
Happy Sunday! I hope everyone has had a nice weekend so far. Mine involves a combination of work, study, and play — work for clients, studying in the form of my first few forays into preparing for final exams, and play in the form of getting my Christmas tree up. The arrival of a tree always seems to make the holiday season feel real, and I’m so happy to have it. As you’ll see tomorrow and on Tuesday, there have been plenty of fragrant…
Happy Mother’s Day, friends! If you’re celebrating a special caretaker in your life, then I wish you a lovely time. I came to NYC for the night so that I could take my Mama out to dinner, and I’ll be headed back to DC in the morning. It was a weekend of summery weather and fun in the District, thanks mostly to the annual Sweetlife festival, an all day music+food event in Maryland hosted by the same wonderful people who created SweetGreen salad….
For a long time, I thought of myself as someone who thrived off of being busy, very busy. At the least, I knew that I tended toward being hyper-productive, which felt sort of like the same thing. When I look back now on my post-bacc years, or my last two years at FSG, when I was working full days, taking pre-req classes at night, and blogging into the wee hours, I’m not sure how I got it all done. Surely being busy must have come…