I am at a place right now where I am standing still in life.
Everywhere around me, people are rushing for things – new places and careers, new relationships, new life, even – and I am watching them.
I want to go forward, to take a step, join them, but instead I stare at my feet, unmoving and, if I’m honest, afraid.
Most days, I want a blueprint: a very, very specific outline of steps to take, with guarantees and/or backup plans, if possible.
So I talk to people who’ve been in similar situations, and they tell me what they did, whether they got their first apartment at 17 or had to work their way through college or stayed at their first job for five years.
But no matter how similar life stories are, they aren’t the same. Following your choices won’t guarantee that I follow your life. Your future can’t be mine.
And I don’t really want it to be. Not when I’m honest. In fact, I don’t really want advice, either. I think I just want someone to listen and nod and say, you know, what’s supposed to happen will happen. Because I believe that.
Meanwhile, I take easy change where I can find it, and, at least for me, that means the kind that happens in the kitchen, routinely, every day.
Like, I take a baby gold potato in my hand, set in on a wooden spoon and make quick slices, then smothering it with olive oil and butter, tossing salt and pepper and sage on top.
A full bag of these goes onto a cookie sheet, slid into a hot oven that warms my face and hands when I open and close its door.
In an hour: what was cold, raw flesh has become hot, soft and tender, fragrant and flavorful. The skins have wrinkled and darkened, the juices have sunk in deep.
Hasselback potatoes are really something special. Beautiful and intelligent. Requiring a bit of effort for something very impressive. I think they look like little snails, but that doesn’t sound appetizing, so let’s say they look like little fans – waves that are crusty and golden, juicy and crispy.
And the bit of effort that goes into creating them– the slicing and stuffing, which is mindless work – yields great returns when you look at these, but even more when you taste them.
That’s the kind of change I don’t have to think twice about choosing, which is, of course, welcome indeed.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna has a Masters in Writing through Depaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.