Failed Attempts At Life

So New Years rolls around and like most unavoidable forces in my life I began to think about how I wanted 2009 to look.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, 2008 was wonderful. I worked hard, I played hard, I learned a lot and, if all those reasons aren’t good enough I did, in fact, finally grow into my breasts.

Bonus.

But the prospect of a redo has always sort of readjusted my life perspective… even if it is for a momentary couple of hours or, when I do choose to make a New Year’s Resolution, for a couple of weeks.

I have made every sort of resolution under the sun. I have promised myself to try harder in school, to become more active, to eat better and more healthier, to practice my music more, to be kinder, and of course, to finish the numerous stacks of books on my “to read” list.

As it is with silly traditions, I always start a new journal for the New Year and tack my resolutions right onto the first page. This might have made them somewhat more important for the several weeks that I really believed that I was going to follow through and accomplish them.  But they of course turn into a list of “most recent failures” faster than an ant explodes under a magnifying glass.

I have come to the conclusion that this might simply be because they are ridiculously open ended. I mean, what the hell does it mean to be kinder? That ship was bound to sink faster than the Titanic.

In an effort to rectify my sad attempts at constructing a “better life” for myself in the coming year I came up with only two resolutions of a more specific nature.

1.     I need to stop swearing. I met a second grade teacher in a Kinko’s who must have worked sex lines for truckers in her free time. Ick.  

2.     To bake my bread instead of buying it from the store.

First one needs little to no comment. The second one, however, demands a little attention.

For Christmas I received a cookbook titled “More With Less.” (It was the 25th edition of a rather popular Mennonite cookbook)

Is it sad to admit that the forward of a cook book might have changed my life….?

I mean, that question is rhetorical.

I know its weird. And frankly, I have had to learn to stop caring about people’s impressions of me or I would be disappointed on a daily basis. I won’t try to defend my assertion about the forward of this book because, quite frankly, it speaks for itself. Find it and read it and you will see what I mean. I will excerpt it as a small background to my explanation of New Year’s resolution #2.

“When we make food an integral part of our lives and homes, it becomes a part of our theology. We are connected to our food- cultivating it, preserving it, and preparing it. We are the nurtures instead of the consumers.”

I consume.

Way too much.

Daily.

And I became slightly disgusted with my disconnection concerning my created impulses… to well, create and preserve and my desire to have fast and easy options so that I could attend to “more important business.” I had to face the sad fact that I might not be as important as I think I am.

So I made a small decision.

I have officially baked about ten loaves of bread since January 1st and I still suck at it. (Baked might be a loose term for anything that encompasses burned, undercooked, or melted dough) I mean, I cooked a sugar mixture for twenty minutes before realizing that there was a second half to the recipe. Seriously. Sugar and butter at 350.

I say all this to comment on the fact that I think I have learned some important life lessons in my quest to reclaim a little bit of my humanity that has been lost to the world of processed food.

First, I might be infamously spacey… but that isn’t what defines me. I can follow directions well and, on occasion, actually produce something that I am proud of.

Second, hard work is better when it is shared among those who will love and appreciate it. There is a joy in provision and that joy should be spread to as many people as possible.

Third, I am not as busy as I once thought I was. If something is important, there is always time.

Finally, and this is more complicated, I have begun to finally and honestly ask myself: What was I created to do? I have witnessed a number of philosophical and theological debates as to the innate and created nature of human beings. Because I have a variety of friends I have acquired a variety of answers and for the longest time I was okay with my collection. But I have begun to realize that I have just become complacent and lazy. When I experienced ach in my hands after my first batch of honey wheat bread I realized that making food is hard work that is undervalued and underappreciated. What am I giving away to convenience and am I sacrificing honest pride and joy when I don’t take the time to work for the good things in life?

Verdict in: Bread is good.

It feeds many.

When I make it, it costs less than the store bought kind.  

It helps me acquire attentiveness, patience, and an understanding of worth into my life. 

I have learned to share.

And, on some level, it lets me know that my hands were made for hard work.

I have hands that can provide. 

 

There aren’t many things in my life that I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, are good. But, so far, baking bread has been good for me.

Do I suggest everyone start making homemade bread? By no means. I will not be a Nazi about this. But I do suggest that everyone find something that they can work hard at and take pride in. Everyone must live their own life but be warned that if you come into my house I might just offer you a slice.

 

K

 

 

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~ by kmconrad on January 23, 2009.

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