The Year of Flowers

Yesterday, I celebrated my 32nd birthday. After 30 years of striving and doing and trying to pretend that I knew it all, 31 humbled me. At 31, I finally figured out how to embrace the simple joys of life. Cooking. Flowers. Growing fresh herbs outside.

As my lifelong friends can tell you, I have SUCKED at cooking for myself my entire life. I would have rather picked up something in a drive thru than even put something in the microwave. However, as I have had to face down my toddler and his need to eat, I recognized something had to change. I want him to eat fresh, nutritious, beautifully prepared food — which means I am responsible for making that happen. All my excuses couldn’t hold up anymore.

Learning to focus on what felt/smelled/tasted good was the key to changing my mentality. I realized that the reason I always hated cooking was that for most of my childhood, food was treated like a chore than my parents slogged through. The energy around food preparation was always “uuuuggggghhh… this again??” So I adopted that mentality as reality. But it isn’t.

I started to heal my relationship to cooking by not focusing on food at all. I started by buying fresh flowers. Having beautiful flowers on display encouraged me to keep the kitchen table and counters clear. By making my table and kitchen more inviting, the barriers to cooking (dishes that still needed to be done, papers strewn all over the table) lessened.

My next step was to start shopping for food that felt like a treat. With a lifelong expectation of cooking to be a chore, I always found myself buying food that didn’t seem all that enticing to prepare. Just staples that were “meh”. So I started lavishing myself with fresh items that I loved to eat when I went out. Smoked salmon. Avocados. Perfect seasonal strawberries from the farmer’s market. Homemade sourdough bread. Fresh little herbs in a pot. Anything that helped me to feel like I was living a calm rustic life Provence.

The final step was to start watching cooking shows on my phone. I’m not trying to build my skills. These shows provide new positive associations for my brain between cooking and happiness. It’s important! In order to rewrite my programming, I have to input new data! I also picked up this awesome book, which has been so lovely.

All this is to say that it’s working. I am cooking more. And my son, my husband, and my happiness are all flourishing. I can feel a difference in my body that I never expected. I may not look any different, but I feel more at ease. Plus I no longer immediately dread the next meal as soon as I finish one.

I was told time and time again that your 30’s are awesome. Let me tell you, my 30th year SUCKED SO HARD, and that did not give me much hope. 31, on the other hand, was an unexpected joy. I can’t wait to see what 32 has in store.

Here is a digital clink-of-champagne-glasses to finding the beautiful simplicity in life. Here’s to 32.