I got a reminder this week, issued by a friend who knows what it’s like to survive loss, to live for the present.
This is a message that I’ve received before, and it’s an intention I’ve tried to act on already. But with intentions this important, it doesn’t hurt to get a reminder every now and then. It’s so easy to reason that we’ll do X, Y, and Z once circumstances line up in the “right” way. When the timing is just so. When life is easier or less stressful; when finances are flowing more easily or we have a partner to enjoy a certain experience with.
I’m very good at delaying experiences and goals with this kind of rationalizing. But with the new year underway, I seem to be getting scattered but collectively meaningful signals that life is happening now.
When you live with depression, it’s sometimes necessary to be patient and simply wait for a dark period to pass. At those moments, holding onto the belief that things will change is the best you can do. It’s a lot, all on its own.
Without wishing in any way to glamorize my depression, I can recognize that it has taught me a few important things. One of them is the art of savoring life even more when the dark, muddled lens of a depressive spell is lifted. I can’t always say how long a difficult period or easeful period will last. But when I have the strength and the perspective to see life’s sweetness clearly, I really do try.
I’m feeling better now than I was in the fall—better in a quiet, grounded way. I’m in no rush to get ungrounded, so I won’t threaten the calm with overreaching. But I recognize my peacefulness and clarity for what they are. And since I feel this way, I might as well say yes a little more often, plan that trip that my best friend and I have been saying for ages that we’d take, tackle a few work projects that were on the back burner, necessarily but frustratingly, for a long time.
These actions are small, yet meaningful ways of living now. They’re my way of not delaying happiness because of my perfectionist’s tendency to want the experience of living to line up with my brightest fantasies. One of the things I’ve learned in the last few years is that it’s often better to do something imperfectly or with inopportune timing than to delay and delay and then lose the enthusiasm or ability to do it at all.
Here’s to a week of living and doing, in all the little ways that I can. And here are some recipes and reads.
Super Bowl Sunday is a good day for Jessica’s awesome tofu nuggets!
Growing up, my Yaya always made baked potato wedges with tomato—maybe it’s a Greek thing as well as a Southern Italian thing? Anyway, I’m excited to try this recipe.
This creamy vegan potato soup sure does look perfect for February.
A delectable, overflowing vegan BBQ “pulled pork” sammie.
1. I have to admit, I’ve never given surgical masks or their potential scarcity during a pandemic much consideration. This article got me thinking.
2. A new film highlights the beauty and resilience of lichens, and this interview captures the perspective of its makers.
3. Screening for adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, has the potential to prevent development of diseases that are associated with childhood trauma. But how to screen without stigmatizing kids or their families? This article explores that question in the context of California’s new ACE screening initiative.
4. Here’s a potential plant-based diet health benefit that’s news to me: fewer UTIs.
5. And finally, a sweetly humorous take on abandoned New Year’s resolutions. NPR asked readers to send couplets about resolutions that hadn’t gotten off the ground. It collected more than 500 entries, and then poet Kwame Alexander combined some of them into a community poem, which you can read here. It made me chuckle, and it hope it does the same for you 🙂
This week, a chocolatey dessert that’s just in time for your Valentine’s Day plans. Till soon!
Spontaneity has never been my strong suit. I’ve always admired it from afar, nodding my head approvingly at the idea of carpe diem, going with the flow, and all of that. But acknowledging its value and actually welcoming it into my life are two very different things. I know that my resistance to spontaneity has to do with my attachment to control, or the idea of it, which is something I’m trying to let go of. It’s not easy to let go of…
When you’re studying for a big test, which I am, you spend a lot of time thinking about focus. You have to: concentration and focus are huge parts of test preparation. No amount of study hours matter unless the quality of one’s attention and immersion is strong, a distinction that’s sometimes summed up as studying smart vs. studying hard. (For the record, I tend to need to study smart and hard to get anywhere!) In the past few days, I’ve given more thought…
In the last few days I read both Genevieve Angelson’s Refinery29 essay on confronting her eating disorder while in quarantine, and also The New York Times‘ reporting on the current crisis as a relapse trigger for those in addiction recovery (which, not surprisingly, Angelson refers to). I’m going to issue a gentle warning for the Refinery29 article, as it contains detailed descriptions of behaviors: consider what’s appropriate for you at this moment in time before reading. My point really isn’t so much to…
Here we are, in the final days of 2014. It has been quite a year, and I look forward to sharing some reflections with you all later this week. For now, some weekend reading, brought to you while Steven and I dance into the wee hours at my friend Gabi’s wedding. Enjoy! Christmas is over, but this green and red zucchini pasta dish is still calling my name! This cauliflower and avocado salad with pomegranate seeds is so gorgeously simple, yet colorful, and…