I don't generally sign up for inspirational email. In fact, I don't generally opt in to anything that will come regularly to my inbox which doesn't have direct relevance for me professionally. But a while ago, a friend introduced me to TUT's Note from the Universe. They were different enough, quirky enough that my interest was piqued. And I subscribed. Now, I'm often surprised at how apropos the messages are. This was my message the other day:
No more "supposed tos," OK, Justine?How many times do I make this my mantra? I should blog more. I should be happier. I should be posting beautiful new photographs of food every day. But how realistic is that, given that I now commute for almost two hours, that I do laundry every night, that I sometimes bring work home, that I'm trying to comment often on friends' blogs, that I have two children that need my attention?
You're not supposed to work harder, look better, sleep less, sell more, run faster, talk slower, be happier, stay longer, leave earlier, cook, clean, negotiate, settle, start, stop, move, try, win, shake, rattle or roll.
Other people made all that up.
I'm not another blogger. I'm not another working parent. I'm not another runner or yogini. And right now I'm not capable of coming up with new photogenic recipes. Publishing fabulously deep blog posts every day, or even several times a week. Leaving earlier.
Other people made that all up.
So what am I doing listening to other people? To popular media, to Sheryl Sandberg, to other bloggers, to the more critical voices from my past? Who don't have any basis for their claims on my behavior, my appearance, my anything?
I ran into someone we know from town today at the car show, and she was talking about her artwork winning an award at an art show. Immediately, I caught myself. Well, she's an artist. She actually works at her craft. You don't work at yours. So how do you ever expect to win an award or get published?
Those voices get internalized pretty deeply, so that at some level, we forget that they are other people's voices, and start to think that they're our own. Maybe, eventually, they become our own.
Realism. This is my life the way it is right now. All I can do is trust that I'm doing things the best way I can do them ... which is the way I've done them--at least in my own opinion--my whole life. And remind myself when I can that there's nothing else I'm supposed to be doing, and nohow else I'm supposed to be. Except who, and what, and where I am.
Do you have "supposed tos"? Where did they come from? How do you tune them out?
Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
This is what I did with the beans and potatoes from last weeks' CSA share. It wasn't fancy, but it was dinner. And if you put enough garlic and salt on pretty much anything, you'll be OK.
1.5 lb. baby potatoes
1 T. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
1 quart green beans, trimmed and halved
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it in the oven to preheat.
Toss potatoes with 1 T. olive oil, then season with salt and pepper; transfer potatoes to preheated baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Toss the green beans with garlic, season with more salt and pepper. Add to the baking sheet with the potatoes.
Roast for 10 more minutes.