One of the key rules of blogging is that no one wants to know what you had for lunch. Unless you’ve focused your blog around your culinary adventures, writing about your meals is the refuge of the lazy blogger. That said: I made a culinary advancement this month.
Eggs are one of my favorite foods. Scrambled, fried, combined into the French farm wife’s dish of choice, I’ll eat eggs for any meal at any time of day. Despite my love of just about all dishes egg-related, I’m not very good at cooking them. However, one Sunday morning this month I discovered the secret to the perfect omlette: fat, heat, water, and patience.
You have to put enough fat, I used real, actual butter, in the pan, let it get hot enough before you pour in the eggs which you have already mixed with just enough cool water that vigorous mixing with a fork produces a slight froth around the edge, and wait just long enough for the eggs to form a good, solid base before you move the edge aside to let the mixture on top get near the pan and start to cook. The patience comes in when you turn down the heat from high to medium and cover the frying pan with a lid giving the base enough time to solidify and the mixture on top enough heat to cook.
And while I was enjoying my omlette with cheese and reading through the Sunday paper it hit me: the things that are necessary for making a good omlette are the same things that are necessary for a good, rich life.
You need to have a little fat in your life for those times that are physically or emotionally lean. Sure, being fit and in shape is fine but if you hew to the body trends of the day you’re constantly hungry, constantly stressing out your immune system, so that when hard times do come they sap your core resources and not that little bit extra that you’ve got hanging around as your cushion.
A well lived life, a full life means heat. It requires passion even if it is only the fire of righteous indignation at the stupidity of the world and the people who live in it. You have to be careful, though, to make sure that your passion is yours, that it’s productive rather than totally reactive; too much of that righteous indignation dampens real fire quick as anesthetized boredom ever could leaving you hollow, sour, and small.
New things, places, people, and experiences marinate your life and your view points in a soup of input that without enough of you dry up. Your mind shuts down and you think the things you think are the only things that should be thought. Not enough flow, not enough wetness and your bones crumble, sediment settles as its wont to do, and you stagnate.
And then there’s patience. Patience is the hardest one to figure out when trying to construct a personal “good life” strategy. Any adult knows that not only is it not practical it’s often not even possible to have everything you want right at the moment you want it, but how long to wait? How long to bide your time, to stay in a job that doesn’t quite fit but isn’t really that discomfiting, in a relationship that isn’t perfect but then again what is, in a life that isn’t entirely fulfilling but who promised you that life would be easy or even satisfactory? When do you act now and when do you wait realizing that while tomorrow isn’t guaranteed neither is the idea that there won’t be a tomorrow for you and if there is you’ll have to deal with the consequences of today?
I find myself nearing the end of my fourth decade with little left but patience. Shut in, shut out, dry and humorless, every knock, dig, dent, and ping taking more out of me than I think it should.
Maybe it’s just aging, the natural disconnection of the childless and middle-aged from popular culture the irrelevance and recycled nature of which becomes clearer and clearer with every fashion and music trend.
Or maybe, just maybe, I need to find some matches, to stop considering my options so that what needs to be done and what is expected of me always precede what I want whenever there is a choice to be made.
Possibly it’s just the holidays. Maybe if I can crawl into a cave until the teeth cracking sweetness of public music and the wallet busting desperation of the retail machine have passed I’ll be OK.
It feels deeper than that, though. The leeching in my life, the lack of fat and heat and juiciness, seems dug in, here for the long haul.
It’s time for a reboot. How I’m going to do that I don’t know, but it’s definitely time.