I got a call from my uncle this week. He let me know that a family member of ours, who lived overseas, had passed away.
Another loss. This one wasn’t entirely unexpected, but I was still surprised to hear it. My heart ached for the family of my cousin, who was gone. I’d thought she would have more time.
As my uncle and I chatted a bit, I was aware that he was in no hurry to get off the phone. We don’t speak on the phone often—I’m not a phone person, so I don’t catch up with many people that way—and our chats are typically short when we do call each other.
This time, we spoke patiently, with a lot of long pauses. We veered off into weighty topics, which was perhaps no surprise given the nature of his call. We talked about anxiety and fear, the preciousness and precariousness of life.
My uncle and I had an interesting, candid back and forth about gratitude. How does one strike a balance between giving thanks for what is, while honestly acknowledging suffering and unhappiness?
My uncle and I have different approaches to our spiritual lives, but we’ve always been able to speak about spirituality and faith. There’s a lot of overlap between my practice of yoga and mantra and his own practice of prayer.
We talked a little bit about prayer. I haven’t prayed in a formal way since I was a kid, enveloped in a religious tradition that I no longer connect to directly. But lately, this year especially, I’ve felt the impulse to pray, without even knowing what prayer would look like at this point in my life.
At one point, a little while before we hung up, my uncle took a long pause. He told me that he’s always thinking of me, even when we don’t speak for a while. He said he’s sorry that he doesn’t call more often.
I had to chuckle: I’m terrible about picking up the phone, and if anyone’s to blame for infrequent calls, it’s me. But I knew what he meant. He was saying that I’m on his mind, even when we’re not in contact.
I told him that I feel the same way. And while it’s most important for us to know and understand that we’re always thinking of each other, we should really voice that more often. You never know what the future will bring.
2020 has me thinking about the many things that I leave unsaid, assuming that there will always be more chances to express them. It makes me consider the experiences that I keep delaying—places I’d like to go, things I’d like to learn, parts of myself that I’d like to express—as I try to manage my everyday life.
I’m not sure what would need to change for me to become a little better at acting on feelings, desires, and plans. I know most of what needs to shift is internal. It won’t hang upon a change in circumstances or timing.
But the losses of this year, coupled with the travel and social restrictions of Covid, have been an important catalyst. They’ve compelled me to think about living in the present, being a person who has, in the words of Mel Robbins, a “bias toward action.”
I can’t help being the considered person and slow processor that I am. But life moves quickly, and I want more than ever to live mine with a spirit of fullness. That effort can begin, as most change does, with baby steps.
So, here’s to a week of doing at least a few things each day that feel a little new, a little uncomfortable, and a little off script. It won’t be a great adventure, but it’s the place to start.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
Always delighted to have more inspiration to try new things in my air fryer! Amanda’s garlic herb butternut squash looks so good.
Francesca’s hearty seitan comfort stew is the winter food of my dreams.
I’ve been meaning to try Brandi’s no oil roasted Brussels sprouts for ages now, and the upcoming Thanksgiving will be a perfect opportunity.
Another holiday classic: scalloped potatoes. Marly’s version is vegan and looks so good!
Finally, why choose between something chocolatey and something pecan pie-ish? Hilaire’s double chocolate pecan cookie bars are both.
1. Eight chefs and food professionals reflect on the meaning of Diwali this year.
2. Could the Chilean soapbark tree help human bodies to respond more strongly to vaccines?
3. Space junk. Who knew?
4. Via The New York Times, one writer’s moving essay about connecting to her father through song as his Alzheimer’s Disease takes over.
5. On the same theme, a meditation on grief from writer Matthew Bremner. This observation stuck with me: “Grief starts off as a fear of absence and then becomes the acclimatization to it.”
Some low-key Thanksgiving inspiration coming your way, this week and next. Till then,
Happy October! I feel as though I’m constantly making remarks in these posts about how quickly time is flying, so I should probably just accept that pace as the nature of things. But, seriously: time is flying. I can’t believe September has already come and gone. In looking back on this month, I can definitely see that some of the overwhelm I was feeling this week is due to my having been a lot more open and social than I have been in…
Happy sunday morning, friends. I’m in New York, spending some time with my bestie, Chloe, who’s in town to help prepare for her little sister’s wedding. It’s been dry and sunny and not-too-hot here, which is a delightful change from last week’s heat wave in D.C. I hope you’ve had nice weekends. Here are some recipes and reads to enjoy as you transition into Monday. Coffee freak that I am, I’m sort of perpetually on the hunt for a perfect vegan coffee creamer….
I’m sure I say this every single year, but I’m amazed that this one is about to be over. 2019 flew by. Technically speaking, a lot happened this year. I finished ten years of grad school, wrapped up my internship, and became a dietitian, all of which are important milestones that I worked hard for. In many ways, though, not a lot seems to have happened this year. I had the idea that passing the RD exam in September and being free of…
Here we are, at the end of August. Late summer is always a strange time for me, s0 melancholy on the one hand, and on the other hand is the fact that autumn is my favorite season, and I can’t help but greet it with excitement. This is an odd time of year for many of us, I think; nearly everyone I’ve spoken to in the last week has expressed disbelief and mixed emotion that Labor Day is around the corner. Life as a graduate student…