Saturday, August 10, 2013

Supposed Tos, and Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

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?

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.

    The Universe 
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?

It's not.

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.
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  1. Guess what we got at the market today? Might have to make this.

    Guilt dies hard, doesn't it?

  2. This. Yes. Exactly how I feel. Only you actually managed to write it. :)

  3. I think my biggest "supposed to" is that I'm supposed to keep my house clean and provide my family with healthy, fresh dinners every night. I fail miserably at both. I'm really horrible at them and it makes me feel like a failure as a woman and a mom. I try hard to do more of this and also to cut myself some slack. It's a difficult balance.

    I don't really know how to walk that fine line, asking myself to accomplish enough but cutting myself slack when I don't live up to my "own" (my mother's?) standards.

    If you figure it out, let me know. ;)

  4. I totally agree about the garlic and salt.

    And about the other thing too. Do what you do, that's all you're supposed to do.

  5. "Other people made all that up" is going to be my new mantra, girl. I LOVE that! Especially being at the crossroad I'm at - a much needed message. I am signing off my blog - and all the blogs I read - this Friday for 3 weeks - at least - Because I know in my new surroundings, I will have to give everything I can to IRL versus my virtual one..for a while. I'm glad you are respecting the space you're in. And thank you for inspiring me to do the same. xo

  6. Be true to yourself. Don't measure yourself by the judgements of others.
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. Amen. I love the recipe and the thoughts. I constantly stop and remind myself that I decided the best thing to do as a mother was to be happy, I.e., not do things that left me feeling half empty, overly frustrated, or extremely stressed out. Snapping at my kid and feeling resentful wouldn't do her any good. We'll see if this ends up working out, but so far I find it comforting when I hear about what other people are doing with/for their kids and I start to panic that I am not. I also try to apply this to my career too. It is hard though. I have to step back often and talk myself through things.

  8. I can't say how much I love this. I am a chronic sufferer of the "supposed tos". And while I recognize, and fight against the instinct, I can't quite shake the feeling. I'm supposed to be patient 100% of the time with my kids and husband, I'm supposed to keep my home neat and organized and full of creative opportunities for my kids, I'm supposed to keep my body toned and thin, I'm supposed to.... I could go on for days. No one is telling me this stuff except myself. I need to figure out how to throw it out the window.

  9. That's a great mantra. I have a lot of supposed-tos, but I also have a talent for ignoring them so it tends to balance out. And sometimes I have to look at my supposed-tos and see if they are actually up to date: sometimes my mind and life change and I don't realize it, so what I am Really supposed to be doing is different from what I'm telling myself.

  10. I love this. I equate the "supposed to" with "should" and try to remind myself that there is no such thing as should. Of course, telling myself is one thing; believing it is another.

  11. You may never know how much I needed to read your amazingly intuitive take on this today.

    Huge thank you.

  12. Well said, J. I agree that is difficult to turn off the supposed tos inside and outside of our heads. I applaud you for seeing the reality of your life right now. There are so many things for you to be excited about, as well as overwhelmed by and it is hard to balance all of that. Sending you lots of peace, love, light, thoughts and prayers as you adjust to the new routines in your world that come with your new job, commute, etc.

  13. I love this post. I'm glad you fitted it in to your busy life! I don't know how you do it or how I do or how any of us does it. But I'm going to dedicate tomorrow to not worrying about "supposed to" and see how I get on. Does it help you to know that when I went to get my daughter's school uniform ready for going back n two weeks, I found it at the bottom of the laundry basket. Since June.

  14. Sounds like your taking the right direction to me! Please come share this recipe at Foodtastic Friday!


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