The other night I prepared an entire meal for myself: baked salmon, sweet potato fries, pea salad. Dessert was missing. I spotted fresh peaches on the counter and thought, “peach cobbler or peach crisp would be perfect.” Even though I wanted to make a small dessert, I wasn’t sure I had enough peaches. In the fridge I found a fresh pear and part of an apple. After peeling and slicing, I combined them with the peaches, along with a little sugar and flour. The fruit mixture exactly filled my small baking dish. The topping recipe required traditional ingredients — butter, flour, brown sugar, nuts — with one exception — granola. No granola resides in my house. I substituted oatmeal. Close enough. The dessert baked and bubbled in the oven beside the sweet potato fries. I called it Peach Pear Apple Crisp with Almond Oatmeal Crumble. Warm deliciousness.
I tell you this story because we all have the stuff at hand to create deliciousness. A good friend of mine occasionally reminds me, “Jean, no one has a pantry and freezer and fridge stocked as well as yours.” That may be true. I’ve learned not to dispute the observations of my friends.
However, my point is still the same. We have everything at hand to create deliciousness in many areas of our life:
Culinary: I didn’t run to the grocery to buy more peaches or granola, so I could follow the recipe exactly. With a few substitutions and trust in my cooking experience, I created an original dish.
Exercise: If you haven’t started because you’ve not joined a club, or found the right exercise clothes or bought the latest exercise video, you’re perfecting your delay tactics. You have a body that moves and a pair of sturdy shoes hiding in your closet. Now, get going. Find an interesting place to walk. Engage your mind with creative ponderings. Notice something new every time.
Writing: Check your delay tactics. You don’t need to read more writing books, or attend more conferences, hoping you’ll soak up motivation from other writers. You already have pen and paper or computer, a brain, and a place to sit. That’s all you need. Tease your brain into some creative thinking, with the goal of getting words on your paper. What’s the connection between the orange straw in my glass and the turquoise turtle sitting on my desk? Make up a paragraph about the origins of your desk’s wooden planks. Why do you prefer to sit here rather than there when you write? You get the idea.
Music: I have two choices with difficult passages: abandon the practice or create new ways to unpack the hard places. I don’t need to read more books or watch more videos about how to practice. I have a piano bench and a piano, I have non-arthritic fingers, and I have time. All I need is creatively apply what I already know to find my way through the challenges.
You have what you need to forge ahead, to create your own unique deliciousness. Expand your vision, set aside your long-held expectations of perfection, and create a path that works for you — a path that helps you become more than you were yesterday.
Show up. Do the work. Claim your life.
Until next Tuesday . . .