It took me 50 years...
On the eve of my fiftieth birthday, I've come to the conclusion that it's time for me to stop living life how I perceive I'm supposed to and start living life how I want to. Having reached middle age - yes, I'd like to live to be one hundred - I appreciate how quickly time goes by and recognize how wasteful I've been with it over the years.
Let me explain...
My mom is a great cook. During my childhood, family meals were prepared from scratch. I remember many summers snapping bushels of green beans or shucking ears
of corn as Mom whipped up delicious meals; our
freezers (yes, plural) and pantry stocked full. It was a huge treat to eat Kraft mac and cheese, and I used to trade homemade cookies for Oreos at school because that was the only way to get them. To this day, Mom is happier in the kitchen than anywhere else.
I didn't inherit the cooking gene (although I do love to bake). It's not that I wasn't taught. Many a fond memory is of spending time with Mom as she chopped and stirred and baked. The thing is, I have simple tastes, have since I was a kid, and since becoming a vegetarian they're even simpler. I can (and have) eaten the same meal prepared over and over for weeks on end. And my hubs likes different foods than I do, so we rarely end up eating the same thing.
Despite my inadequacy preparing haute cuisine, I've spent decades attempting to follow in my mother's footsteps, stocking my pantry full of ingredients that anyone other than me could whip up into a delicious meal with their eyes closed. I've wasted countless amounts of money dumping those same ingredients into the garbage years after I bought them, having never touched them from the moment I placed them on the pantry shelf.
Enter Amy's Kitchen. Delicious, vegetarian meals straight from my grocer's freezer. Yup, you read that right - they're frozen. And they're microwavable. And they're delicious! Did I mention that already? Plus, low in fat, sugar, and calories, and high in flavor!! Best of all, they're convenient! And I've come to the point in my life where I value convenience over spending time doing something I don't want to do - cooking!
So, mealtime is now Amy's Kitchen time in the Raymond household. There are tons of varieties to choose from (including vegan and gluten-free) so both the hubs and I are happy. I haven't tried a single thing yet that I haven't enjoyed. And not spending hours in the kitchen has freed me up to spend time doing what I do like. Writing, hanging with the hubs, playing with the fur babies, experimenting with Photoshop.
Do I feel guilty? Nope. Not anymore. A week ago I would've given you a different answer, but as I turn the page on a new year I'm leaving that particular emotion behind. Life's too short to waste time and energy trying to be someone I'm not. And I'm not a cook. Sorry, Mom.
Wherever you are in your life, be true to yourself. If I've learned anything in fifty years, it's that.