monday musings: positivity

We like to joke in the Smith household that I am a high severity, low frequency cook. Yeah, that’s some lame actuary/insurance humor for you. It’s Justin’s way of saying that while I don’t cook often, when I do it usually takes the whole day and is rather elaborate. Think, for example, of Thankgiving.

I’m working to change this.

One of the things that I’ve been working on during this transitionary year away from academia is cooking more. I started small and committed to making breakfast for me and Justin every day. I’m still not a morning person and I can’t eat for at least an hour after taking my meds, so breakfast is more like brunch. Most mornings I make a variation of carbs, eggs, and avocados. This could look like breakfast tacos, grits and eggs, or avocado toast.

You might be wondering what this has to do with positivity. Bear with me, I’m getting there.

This weekend, I moseyed into the kitchen to make us some avocado toast. I usually get my pans going while I pull out all of the ingredients. The plan for this morning was actually going to be hummus, cucumber, and avocado toast, but the bread gods had something else in mind. I opened up my bread bag to find all of the remaining slices of bread to be “middle-free.” Because I’m a jerk and always assume the worst in people, my first reaction was to ask Justin, in a very accusational tone, “Did you do this?!” Much to his credit, he took it in stride. (Note: Hungry wives don’t always say the most rational things.)

From there, I had to scratch my epically awesome breakfast plans and come up with something else. I decided to make an egg in a basket and top it with some smashed avocado. While tasty, it definitely was not the breakfast I imagined.

Needing to roll with it made me realize a few things about myself. (Isn’t it funny the things that make us introspective?) I’m slowly making progress towards being a less reactive person. It might surprise you to know that I can get a bit riled up with my plans go out the window. It frustrates me immensely. The bread thing happened and I calmly switched course.

The other thing that I’ve come to realize is that I actually enjoy cooking. I think the tenure-track job demanded that I sacrifice a lot of who I am. It was sort of a “here’s two options, pick one” situation where my options were have some balance and enjoy my life or earn tenure. Earning tenure just wasn’t worth the sacrifices.

I like to think of myself as a positive person, but the fight of the last four years drained a lot of that out of me. It’s been nice having the space for the person I want to be to resurface.


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