What if I just learn to cook? The two main happiness factors that are constants in my life are places and food. As Weiner himself admits in that book I loved so much, geography can really determine one’s happiness if only because a place has the capacity to really move us in ways we can’t explain. I’ve had so many epiphanies in places like Brunei and Indonesia. From the morning and afternoon prayers that devotees sing to Allah to the mystic moon that hangs above Bali, all these experiences have in one way or another been a result of displacement–getting from here to there and being in a constant state of flux. But alas, the irony is that travel doesn’t come cheap and if I’m to wallow in this pool of woe just because I can’t do what I really want to do just yet, I might as well kick myself. Self-pity isn’t pretty and looking at other people’s success with the job-hunt isn’t either.
Oh but Eureka! I just discovered while chewing on a tasteless muffin that my problem isn’t that I can’t find a job but that I don’t really want the things I see. I know, I know. How dare I say that when so many people are itching for jobs and would gladly accept anything that pays the bills. This makes me really sick inside…but you see, it’s always been my self-imposed rule that I ought to do something that truly causes me to wake up in the morning and work until the wee hours of the evening. Is it wrong to think this way? Maybe. Get a job and earn money. Get a job and earn money. Get a job and earn money. But wait, why not get a job that makes you happy? Money doesn’t really make me happy (ahem, except maybe when I go into a bookstore or see pretty things I’d like to wear) and neither does owning too many things. My idea of living in my twenties is a knapsack, 3 pairs of pants, 5 shirts, notebook, pen and open road, and maybe a couple of bucks to fly me from here to wherever I can walk. Sounds Utopian doesn’t it? But it isn’t all fantasy, believe me.
So on the one hand there’s travel which I cannot afford right now or risk since a huge chunk of reasoning in my head’s still keeping me home. I’ll only go away when I’m pretty sure I can manage. There’s still this pending surgery and some concerns but I tell you, I’ll do it before 25.
In the meantime, food is still an incredibly huge source of joy. Eating is one past-time I wouldn’t mind putting on my resume next to reading and writing. I thought it was silly to cook at first because independent women in this century don’t need to stay at home but you know, my deeply traditional inner self is struggling to get to the kitchen and cook something, anything. It’s a concept you learn from college where everyone is taking some kind of specialized degree. Economics, Law, Engineering, Science, Molecular Biology–yum. On the flip side of things there are those among us who have decided to go to culinary school instead. It’s expensive to do this and if you believe in college-speak, it’s only reserved for those who can’t manage to get into other colleges…ech. Which mindless student from some boring course thought that up? What about the number of college students who go to school, ace their tests but don’t have a taste for learning?
Before I digress and defend the people in the business of degustation, I might as well come out and say it. I want to cook and be able to invite friends over for dinner or lunch. I want to stage picnics with baskets full of food that elicit reactions akin to that of the Mole in Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows. He was invited to eat lunch by the riverside and he had just as much fun unpacking, devouring and putting back lunch containers into the basket. How wonderful!
I know it sounds crazy and a tad bit too risky but if all else fails, at least I’ll know how to cook me a tiny pot of comfort soup. That should be worth everything.