Reflections on Change

I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb when I say that change is difficult for almost everyone. We are animals deep down, and we like our predictable routines, just like my dog likes knowing when her meals and walks are going to come every day. Of course, the problem is that change is the most inevitable aspect of life. Perhaps this is why we spend so much time and energy worrying about and trying to predict the future, rather than enjoying the present moment.

Right now, I am going through a big life change, and it is affecting me. My anxieties, though, are focused on the changes centered around work. What’s crazy is that I was actually looking forward to taking a break from work and either reducing my work hours when I come back from maternity leave or maybe finding something else I’d rather do. After all, I’ve had to spend the last year getting over work burnout and teaching myself that there is life and value outside of work, that work doesn’t have to be all-consuming.

Now that the transition is actually here, though, I’m feeling lonely, worried about being shut out, anxious about losing connections with my terrific colleagues. Isn’t it a paradox that when we get something we really want, we start questioning whether we wanted it after all?

There have been positive signs, though. I have been rediscovering a lot of things that brought me joy outside of work, such as reading, writing and cooking. I have been daydreaming about projects that I might be able to tackle without work sapping so much of my energy, creative projects that hold the promise of bringing more fulfillment to my life. I know that with a new baby I won’t have a lot of time for these projects right away, but just the fact that I’m thinking about them, making notes, setting up an environment in which creativity has a chance to flourish is enough for me right now. Aside from this blog, it’s been a long time since I’ve done that.

Sorry this post isn’t about cooking. But I did want to mention Mark Bittman’s new blog, which I am really enjoying. Bittman is one of my favorite cookbook authors; I have several of his books, and I’m always giving his books as gifts to get my friends interested in cooking. Bittman writes recipes you can rely on. When life is hard, you can turn to Bittman for something simple, easy, tasty and fresh that will keep you from falling back on fast food or pizza.

When I am caught up in the throes of change, I find reading Bittman’s blog and cookbooks to be calming and centering. I received The Minimalist Cooks Dinner as a Christmas gift (I also gave it as a Christmas gift, funnily enough), and I am looking forward to diving into it during the transitional days ahead. I am hoping that with its help, I can at least keep putting healthy dinners on the table despite all the changes coming my way.

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