This week I had a long conversation/catch-up with my dear friend and former editor, Lani Diane Rich. She is an amazing writer, teacher, editor, person, who always inspires me to be better. We’d lost touch for a while and seeing her face again warmed my heart and restored my soul. Writer friends, if you haven’t gotten into Lani’s How Story Works podcasts or the book, I highly recommend both or either. You will rethink how you tell your stories, I promise.
Among the many things that Lani and I talked about for almost two hours was how we spend our energy–are we truly spending energy on what we value or are we wasting energy on things that don’t really make us happy. How many of us spend time and energy on stuff that isn’t making us truly happy? I do. I know that I do, and you know, our conversation sort of reminded me of how long ago, when I was a very, very large woman, and how I learned to discern what foods I truly enjoyed and were worth the calories, and what foods I ate simply because they were available and I was a compulsive eater.
It took a long time of deprivation and dieting for me to realize that I was overweight because I ate fast, heedlessly, mindlessly. I never considered whether I truly liked the taste of something or not because nothing ever spent enough time on my taste buds for me to know. Once I’d cut my food intake to weight-loss levels, which meant eliminating a lot of the foods–sweets, carbs, etc.–that I ate for comfort, I discovered some pretty important things. I don’t like doughnuts. I’m not fond of pasta, particularly with sauce on it. I especially don’t care for Alfredo-type sauces. I don’t like salad dressing, thus I’m not crazy about salads drenched in it. I love to eat plain lettuce that I might dip in blue cheese or honey mustard dressing if I’m in the mood. I’m not terribly crazy about chips–particularly flavored ones. I love granola, but I don’t like heavy fibrous bread.
Most of all, I learned to savor, truly savor, foods I do love, like French butter on a warm baguette, a tender grilled steak–medium rare, crisp fresh crudités with a savory cheese dip, bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and fresh basil, and rich dark chocolate with a glass of really good zin or pinot noir.
Now, I’m going to try to do the same kind of intense examination with how I spend my energy. Where I put my time. Because I am too old to waste a moment doing things I don’t want to do. And in particular, I want to stop wasting energy on stuff I really do not value. I will be a work in progress for a little while, I think, so please have patience with me as I begin this inward journey. I’m going to start with gratitude because, as I’ve discovered before, that is where all happiness begins.
Gratitude: My family, the grass is so green now, I’m writing and it feels so good, meeting up again with old friends, and our new deck, when it is drenched in sunshine in the mornings and cast in cool shade at night.
Stay well, stay safe, send light to Ukraine, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful,