One day while mindlessly perusing my social media feed during a break at work, I came across a post that stated, “It’s okay to outgrow people, even yourself”. (And loved it so much I felt compelled to repost on the SFH Insta page) The latter part of that quote made me think about how much we change during the course of our lives.
As a culinarian, I cook for a living but I also cook for my family, just as many of us do every day. It occurred to me how similar we transform and evolve as individuals living through basic life circumstances, just like food transforms when a seasoning, heat or cold is applied during the cooking process.
This year I spent my summer cooking the most gorgeous scallops at a food and wine festival. I happen to love scallops and all seafood in general so this was a fun dish to prepare. In their original state, scallops are raw and clean and silky white. They are soft and punchy to the touch but have a strength inside that helps keep them firm enough to withstand any element without falling apart. When they’re placed on a hot surface, they begin to slowly transform. Add a touch of seasoning and it brings to life the natural juices from within its milky exterior to assist in forming a sweet golden buttery brown crust, or as we call it in my world, a sear. If left on the heat too long the beautiful sear that occurs will become dark and crusty and the scallop itself becomes too firm and rubbery. However, when the heat is applied just long enough this beautiful gift from the ocean becomes a culinary delicacy unlike any other. It nourishes the body, excites the taste buds and satisfies a hungry tummy.
Today, I see a scallop that once was, in its infancy, a beautifully raw and organic product of the universe. It has been seasoned and seared through the years and has inexplicably changed into a new, more perfect culinary delicacy. The strength from inside helped keep the outside in solid form (although at times it didn’t feel that way) while being transformed into the best version of itself. This is, of course, an analogy for the change I have felt in my life and the changes we all experience throughout our lives. It seemed, in my mind at least, to be quite relevant as we enter a new year. We begin life just as the raw scallop began its journey to the table but we grow and evolve into a delicacy from the seasoning and searing we experience along the way. And it’s my hope that we each embrace these changes along with those we love and who love us.
It feels timely to write this at the beginning of 2019 so, I challenge you to embrace the YOU that has been seasoned and seared and not look back to what you were, but the magnificent person you are today the exciting person you will be in years to come. Celebrate the seasoning and searing you’ve experienced because the beauty of life is the ability to become the best version of ourselves. Let us trust in the fact that all of life’s trials, tribulations and circumstances have and will continue to cook us to perfection.
I watch her as she handles life, friends, school and responsibility and I think to myself, “I love the person she has become.”
As a mother, one of our many worries in life is who our children will grow up to be. Will they aspire to greatness? Will they know happiness? Will they be good people? Will they be the amazing and successful individuals we think they can be? These are normal parental questions that we all ask ourselves at one point or another. And, there are times, let’s just get this out there, that we want to simply close our eyes from the sheer exhaustion of it all and hope for the best…especially when they become adolescents!
My sister, who raised an adolescent before me, told me once, “Relax, she’s an adolescent and adolescent means to simply to be immature…you can’t expect someone in the throes of adolescense to do everything you want them to do, it’s just not going to happen.” Wise words from someone who did it before me and very good advice because I found myself in a constant state of worry that my child would not make good decisions or display some long-term effects from the stress of divorce and a strained relationship with her father. I worried that every pull away from me was a signal that something was wrong.
What I’ve learned is that parents who are engaged in their child’s life will innately know when a pull is just a sign of independence or a sign of a problem. Our children will absorb our guidance and our love even if they do not express it; they pay more attention to us than they want to admit. I’ve also learned that my child is who she is, she’s not me and that difference is something that a parent needs to consider. Our children will most definitely approach life with a different view or tackle an obstacle in a way that is completely foreign to us but that’s okay, because they are who they are and that should be celebrated.
I love who she’s become and I’m even more excited to watch who she will eventually be. I am discovering there is a fine line to walk, as a parent, learning to allow our children to be whom they want to be while at the same time guiding them towards their potential. What fun this is, what beauty unfolds everyday; it’s like watering an exotic plant and waiting to see it in full bloom.
One of life’s most bitter pills to swallow is the realization that perhaps you haven’t quite conquered the pain of your past demons. Sometimes these pesky guys find a way into your everyday life no matter how hard you have worked to overcome them. At that moment, your heart splits wide open as your mind beats you up for momentarily losing the battle. And then a sobering sense of reality falls upon you and allows you to acknowledge that you are only human and recognizing the pain from the past makes you stronger as long as you leave it there.
Waste not fresh tears over old griefs. ~Euripides, Alexander
Leaving the past behind and learning to get rid of the clutter the past can sometimes deposit into our brains, is a healthy step to keeping a life full of love, peace and satisfaction. It is not that any of us, including myself, wish to have these moments clutter our lives and make our hearts more vulnerable and insecure. Most of us just want to move on and feel the freeing sense of peace that enveloped us when we made the decision to move our lives forward in the first place.
Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. ~James Thurber
It seems the first step to keeping ourselves from having to swallow that bitter pill more than once in a lifetime, is to acknowledge the past for what it was but never allow it to control us, our lives, our hearts or our minds. Leave it in the past and know that who we are today is a stronger, better version of who we were then. The second step is to surround ourselves with those who will love us unconditionally; however, will not allow us to fall into the trap of dwelling on the past. Sometimes “tough love” is the best kind of love for those of us who have worked diligently to leave the hurt behind but find ourselves in a moment of emotional self-destruction. These individuals, who love us for who we are, provide us with the compassion and honesty that are key to our success. Sophocles said it beautifully…
“One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is LOVE.”
If you are struggling with hurt, insecurity or another demon from the past, embrace the NOW and those you love who are in the NOW with you. Leave behind those things that weigh you down and keep you from living the productive and happy life you were meant to live. Embrace the beauty of the present and look forward to the joys of the future.
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” — Norman Vincent Peale
There are times in our lives when we reach a crossroad before us and we haven’t a clue how to proceed. We are faced with a challenge, a difficult decision or a painful life dilemma and it lingers around us begging for answers. We want out of the house of fear but end up succumbing to the safety net of not having to make a difficult decision because we are afraid of the unknown, afraid of the obstacle and unsure of the path we should take. We have all been at this point; however, what separates us from the rest is how we overcome the fear and conquer the obstacle that is keeping us from reaching goals or simply moving life forward.
Fear keeps us from success because it causes deep-rooted insecurity, anxiety and low self-worth. This unfortunately leads to poor decision-making and/or ignoring the inevitable or on the flip side, ignoring the possible.
I was fortunate to be among a group of women at a professional women’s event recently where one of the speakers said something powerful that resonated deep inside, “If you must make a difficult decision, ask yourself this question, am I making this decision out of fear or out of courage?” – Dr. Deborah German. Dr. German’s point being, always make your decision out of courage, even if you fail. The courageous decision will move your life forward, allow you to unlock the door and exit the house of fear which releases you from the anxiety and insecurity blocking your success.
Many of us find ourselves facing obstacles everyday, some more difficult than others; however, as women, as mothers, as friends we have the power within to fight back, be courageous, be supportive of each other and move our lives forward; leaving behind the house of fear and opening doors to finding success and pursuing wonderful new dreams.