Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Crockpot Your Life

When I hit the age that my mom allowed me to use the microwave on my own, it was a period of great freedom and opportunity. I no longer had to wait on someone else to cook my food for me, and I could enjoy all of the Totino's Pizza Rolls and Bagel Bites that my heart could desire. Basically, anything that was in the freezer was fair game. All I had to do was zap it in the microwave and wait for 45 seconds, or maybe a minute and a half if it was a deluxe meal, and I would be able to enjoy anything from steak and potatoes to flatbread sandwiches. There was really no limit to what the microwave could provide for me in a very short period of time.

When I was a kid, I would tolerate just anything that came out of the microwave. I think I was happy to be able to cook food on my own, and I also was willing to eat just about anything. But as I got a little older, and microwaved the same frozen foods that I had once enjoyed as a kid, I realized that my standards must have been incredibly low as a kid.

There are a number of problems that I've found with cooking in the microwave:

1) Either the food gets way overcooked and when they come out, they are so hot that I can't eat them right away. Or, I undercook them, and when I get back to my desk at work to enjoy my lunch, there are little cold patches throughout my meal. It's difficult to get the food just right. 

2) When you reheat something like steak or other meat in the microwave, it generally just gets tougher. So the microwave has done the job of warming up your food, but you may need a hacksaw in order to cut it up so you can eat it, at which point you'll have to chew on it for the rest of the day. When you rush the process, things don't usually turn out like they should. 

3) Foods that you can cook in the microwave have a very low ceiling in terms of how good they can taste. Other than something that you have already cooked, that you are just warming up, or a cup of coffee that needs to be warmed, most foods that are designed for the microwave are not (despite the picture on the box) designed to be delicious culinary creations. There is limited potential there. 

It's really challenging, for me at least, not to want to microwave my life. Everything seems light years away when it isn't right in front of me. When I'm excited about something that is a week or two away, it seems like it's months. When I make plans for my future that I know won't come to fruition for a year or more, I often think I'd rather just not carry through with the plans, rather than wait the unbearable length of a year. I'm glad that I've fought this impatience more often than not, but I also know I've probably missed some opportunities along the way as I've refused to wait the required time for good things to develop.

When we try and microwave our opportunities, goals, relationships, and plans, usually, things don't go well. At best, things aren't allowed to develop to their fullest potential, at worst, we put ourselves and others in precarious situations when we try and speed up a process that takes time to develop. Good relationships take time to develop, people take time to learn the requisite skills and to gain the experience needed to be successful, and generally, there are no get rich quick schemes. (Mostly) things that happen quickly have limited potential, or we get some short term feel goods with little long term benefit.

You can't skip the struggle.

I encourage you to take a crock pot mentality with you life, your relationships, and your plans. Good things usually take time to marinate and fully develop. Make some mistakes, learn from them, and try again. Allow yourself the time and freedom to breathe, develop, and grow into your dreams. Everything won't happen all at once, and the truth is, that's a good thing. You probably aren't ready (yet) for everything that you think you are, and neither am I. It isn't easy, but it's worth it.

Don't skip the struggle.

Much Love,

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