For the last 6 years, Slow Down and Savor has been a place where I can unabashedly talk about food, which quite frankly, has been awesome. I’ve been able to dive into where I live, head first, meet new people, eat some truly amazing fare, and have so much fun while at it. I have also learned a lot about being a home-cook, preparing meals for my family. I know we all appreciate that. Yum!
The reason I started this blog in the first place, back in 2011, aside from my love of food, was to explore a creative outlet in writing. I’ve always been into writing, and find a lot of satisfaction out of both reading and generating the written word.
During my brief hiatus from the blog since Genevieve was born, I was feeling pretty down and out on the creative front. I blame it on my new zombie status, thanks to countless sleepless nights followed by exhausting days. I haven’t had a solid night’s sleep in months, and it has pretty much killed my brain.
But thanks to a spark of culinary inspiration this past week with cottage pie, and thanks to an awesome conversation I had this morning with a woman I greatly admire, who just so happens to be a multi-award winning author, I’ve decided to get back into writing.
This long and drawn out explanation all culminates to this: I want to start a new series here on SD&S that isn’t about food. That’s right. Basically, I want to do some writing workouts, and share them with everyone because, why not?
First things first, I had to come up with a theme for my writing workouts, and the theme I settled is #throwbackthursday, where I go deep and explore my past, diving into some of my memories. Why? Well, I’m approaching my 32nd birthday at the end of this month, so it seemed like an appropriate topic. Some of my entries will be mundane, some will *hopefully* be fun and some maybe not so fun, but I think this series will be cool. Again, *hopefully*.
If you’re not interested, that’s fine. I’ll still have my main focus on what you’ve all come to know and love from me: Restaurant reviews and recipe testing. I’m planning on making this a probably-infrequent Thursday thing. And who knows, maybe you’ll find it something you look forward to, as I know I will.
Anyway, without further ado, may I present the first installment of 32.
Wait. Hold up. 32? Seriously, when did this happen? I swear to God, I was just celebrating my 18th birthday. I remember it. I opened a beautiful box containing beautiful diamond studs while sitting in the lap of culinary-luxury at The Capital Grille on Pennsylvania Ave. in D.C., toasting my “adulthood” along with my parents. I remember the lobster bisque, the smell, the mouth-feel, the texture, the taste, OH the taste… Excuse me while I linger in this moment. It was a really damn good bowl of soup, and I remember thinking in that moment, as I scraped the bowl with my obnoxiously heavy soup spoon, that I’d arrived.
Clearly I hadn’t arrived. I mean, who has ARRIVED at 18? Not me, and frankly, not anyone that I’ve ever known. I am also seriously questioning anyone who thinks that turning 18 makes you an adult. I mean, I still don’t totally feel like an adult, even at 32!
But here I am, a mere few weeks away from turning 32, and I’m thinking, wow, I made it into my thirties. Jeeze.
With no exaggeration, there was a time that it was popular opinion that I may not make it to 25, let alone INTO MY THIRTIES. No I wasn’t sick with cancer or some other dread disease. I just made a habit of making horrifyingly poor decisions.
Luckily, I moved on from the land of bad ideas, and as I ponder my probable eventual midlife crisis, or more aptly a mid-thirties crisis, I’m flanked by my 2-and-a-half year old son, sick as a dog, watching YouTube Kids, and my sleeping 3-month-old daughter. My 9-year-old son is at school, learning the cool stuff that you learn in 4th grade. I have three stunning cats, the superior pet species, and seriously, I have to say that I am #blessed.
Yep, it’s true. I am living a life I never dreamed would come true, but a life I always dreamed of. Pretty amazing, huh? I have a fantastic husband with whom I celebrated 4 whole years of matrimonial bliss just a month ago, 3 kids, 3 cats, the whole kit and caboodle, minus the white picket fence. I have whatever the city/row home equivalent is. Marble stoop? Yeah, sounds about right.
I’m a stay at home mom. I clean the house, do the laundry 800 times a week – seriously, who else lives here? – and take care of the youngin’s. I cook. I clean. I sound like a maid and a nanny, and sometimes a taxi cab driver, but seriously, its a job that I wouldn’t give up for the world. It’s fulfilling and that’s all I can ask for, really.
Yeah, there are times when I feel “less-than,” and “unimportant,” and like I don’t do “enough,” and there are more instances than I’d care to admit where I don’t completely recognize the woman I see in the mirror, especially since having this last (beautiful) baby. Like, who ARE you, you soft, soft woman, you?
But I digress. The point here is this. I’m 32, going on old, and I want to make sure that I don’t forget the important stuff, the memories that stem back a few decades, so that in a few decades from now, I can share them and remember how this ride called life went with my beautiful babies.
Now, in doing this, I will be forcing myself to exercise the ole noggin, which is something I think I should be doing more of, maybe in addition to perhaps exercising my body, but we’ll get to that another day.
I wouldn’t totally consider myself a WRITER writer, but I do write. I blog, I journal, I write. But like I said so eloquently, I’m not a writer writer. I recently took a decently long break from any sort of writing or brain activity in general, blaming it on the tail end of pregnancy, then having the baby, then caring for the baby + others.
I just didn’t like it any more. I felt like writing became boring, trivial and nonsensical. I especially started to hate writing about food, which is what all or most of my writing was about, being a food blogger and all. It got bland, salt-less, and I loathed sitting down to the computer to rehash a recipe or delight over a morsel of food from the latest grub-out spot. I really loved writing, once upon a time, but seriously, the idea of writing about a piece of meat on a plate has me gasping for air. No, thanks. So yeah, I took a break.
But sitting around with sick kids while my own throat scratches and my own nose runs, I decided the break should be over, and perhaps, PERHAPS I should get back in the saddle. I mean, in reality, writing has always been part of me, whether or not I’d like to admit it. Ever since I was a little girl. Even as I shied away from writing, I always had a journal. Always. Sometimes, what was in the journal wasn’t as pretty as the cover. Sometimes it was desperate, depressing, and desolate. There was a lot of pain, but a lot of joy too.
There was laughter, and love and energy and light in those pages of my carefully selected notebook. There was a little girl, then a teenager, then a young woman, expressing herself, learning who she was, exploring her intricacies, dreams, fears, flaws and attributes. There were friends, boys, relationships, heart aches and heart breaks in those pages. There was blood, sweat and tears in those pages. Those pages helped to teach me more about myself than I could have otherwise known. They gave me answers to questions I didn’t even know I had. It was a place where I could be me and not be afraid of judgement or scrutiny or whatever a girl was afraid of facing for being herself. Those pages were unapologetic and raw. And they were me.
My Kindergarten journals are some of the funniest journals to look back through. My handwriting was gnarly, and my thoughts were scattered, and honestly, it seems that not much has changed. My handwriting still isn’t the best, and my thoughts aren’t close to linear.
The only difference between now and then is that I don’t keep a journal any more, these days. I don’t know why I stopped. If I’m being truly honest, I think that my life is too dull to even be worth recording. But then I think back to those grade school journals, and I am glad that I kept a record, boring or not.
I know I’m going to wish that I’d journaled these past 5 or 6 years. I don’t want to look back and not remember when my sons and daugther reached their milestones, or how much love I have in my heart for my amazing husband. I don’t want to forget the sweet smell of my baby Jack. He smells like fresh, sweet rain, by the way. Or the way Major looks at me with complete and utter unconditional love and acceptance, the same way he looks at his beloved iPad. It’s a special love, I tell you. I don’t want to forget the way I felt when I first saw Genevieve’s beautiful, gummy smile, and heard her coo for the first time.
I don’t want to forget how it feels to have Michael take my hand and tell me he loves me without words, but with just a look. I don’t want to forget the sound Jack makes when he laughs, I don’t want to forget the way Genevieve falls asleep on my chest, and I don’t want to forget how Major is the most ticklish boy on earth ever. I also don’t want to forget the day he called me mom for the first time. The day I truly became his mom, in his eyes. I don’t want to forget how Michael won’t leave my side in the kitchen while I prepare dinner, even if we’re not talking, just because he wants to be with me. I don’t want to forget.
Will this be boring? Maybe. Maybe not. Sometimes there’s beauty in the mundane. I hope this retrospective inspires nostalgia in the reader. I hope it makes you think about your memories, good or bad, little or big, fun or scary. I hope it sparks sentimentality and a little wistfulness for what was, and excitement dreaming about what’s to come. Memories can be both a fun and scary place to dive into, but I’m prepared to do so for the sake of some much needed brain-activity.
So here I am, almost 32, but how’d I get here?
Tune in later for more…