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How do you know what you want?

I read a lot of articles about productivity and work and finding the right niche for yourself. Today I read two articles that both told me in no uncertain terms that I had to know what I want in order to get it. And I need to get specific about it.

This makes sense. How can you reach a destination without knowing where you’re headed? The problem is, for years I’ve struggled to know what it is I want. The things I know I want are a little more abstract: I want the freedom to visit my family and friends, I want to be free from worrying about money, I want to be able to stay in shape and eat tasty food and be creative.

But – who do I want to visit, and how often? How much money is enough to keep from worrying? Do I want a trainer or a variety of sports/activities? Would I prefer to be creative in my work or on the side? How do you figure this stuff out? I don’t even know which department I want to work in, much less exactly where I want to be living in five years.

How do people figure this stuff out?

Tips are welcome.


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A month of new recipes

I’m so excited! It’s been a tough summer for cooking with my job, so when it’s done it’s time for a new challenge: a month of never cooking the same thing twice. That’s right, it’s going to be a month of new recipes!

This challenge was inspired by my friend Chris, who came over once with a delicious butter chicken meal to share with me. As I was commenting on how tasty it was, he mentioned that it was a new recipe – and in fact he had never cooked the same meal twice.

I’m not ready for that type of lifelong commitment, but I’m pumped for this because:

  1. I get to cook again! It feels like it’s been so long
  2. Great way to get out of the always-make-the-same-thing rut
  3. Perfect opportunity to try all the new recipes I save from everywhere but never seem to get around to trying

Not sure yet whether this will apply to all meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) or if it’ll be a dinner-only challenge – but I do know leftovers will be permitted! I doubt I’ll be cooking 3 meals a day for the entire month.

And since I’m so excited, I’m going to begin gathering all the recipes I’ve collected. There will be a paper pile of scribbled recipes but here’s my online list:

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Thoughts are sometimes heavy

I was setting my phone up in the hands-free holder as this man walked toward me. He was clearly homeless or living in poverty, and he was bigger than me and I was alone.

He walked almost in front of the car – was he blocking me in? – then made his way to my open window. Two feet from me, and no one was around.

“Do you harrr amm hmm?”

I couldn’t understand him, but it was clear what he was looking for.

“I’m sorry,” I told him. “I don’t have anything on me.”

I lied.

I did have money on me, including a reasonable amount of cash. I could have given him change.

But fear for my own safety mixed with worry about giving him money he could use for further self-harm, and I didn’t.

As he walked away, I thought again about how life isn’t fair. It’s a thought that comes to me often. I don’t have to fight against racism or generations of addition and abuse. He probably does, and based on our interaction today, right now it looks like he’s losing.

As he walked away, I felt a lot of things. Guilt for being afraid. Confusion about how the world can be so breathtakingly gorgeous but still hold so much pain. And a lot of sadness because things are hard for him, and even though I care, I didn’t help.

I know there are a lot of layers to homelessness, poverty, and addictions. There’s way more to it than I understand. But people are still people, and I need to do more. WE need to do more.

*I posted this on my Facebook a few days ago. Several people commented on it saying I shouldn’t feel guilty for putting safety first, and I don’t really. It’s just one of a number of feelings this encounter up for me. And I do think we should do more.