August 2, 2020
Beating the Blahs
Not interested in what I have to say? I'll try not to take it personally.
I’ve had a serious lack of interest in life lately. Every day is more or less the same; sitting on the couch, laptop in hand, hacking away for 8 hours. Then the dreaded question arises: What’s for dinner? Usually I love to cook. And generally I LOVE to eat. But lately I wish I could just inject liquid sustenance into my veins and be done with it. I’m tired of deciding what I want to eat and I’m tired of having to prepare it.
Last weekend I dreaded the idea of baking bread. This is a serious admission for me, because bread is my bliss. If anyone were to ask me what I liked to bake most, without hesitation I would respond, BREAD! I love to feel dough in my hands as I knead it, I love the warm, rich smell of it while it bakes and then of course I love to eat it; slathered with butter or cheese or peanut butter, dipped in olive oil, loaded with luncheon meats. But last week, the idea of making another loaf of bread felt like a chore. Damn you COVID for turning something I love into something I loathe!
I’ve been here once before when I gave professional baking a go. I worked in three completely different establishments over the course of about a year searching for the perfect fit, a divey diner, a craft brewpub and an upscale, contemporary American eatery. In every instance, I both loved and hated the work. There were moments of pure bliss in the kitchen whilst standing over a pot of boiling bagels, but these were overwhelmed by long hours of toiling through hundreds of hamburger buns or prepping pastries under the discerning eye of a head chef, never feeling like I lived up to their expectations.
Working in a kitchen is hard and while you can make a very rewarding life out of it, I started to feel like I’d discovered it too late in mine. In my mid-30s, I felt ancient surrounded by 20-year-olds that had no problem working 12 hour shifts and then going out for drinks until all hours of the night. I missed spending weekends with my husband. I missed baking for FUN. So I went back to an office job and baking at home on my own time. I found the baking bliss again.
When COVID sent me down that road of repetition again, I decided I needed to shake things up. I combed through recipes and baked a bread I’d never made before and lo and behold, it was exciting! Then I challenged myself to find inspiration and come up with some crazy recipes of my own.
This is true of anything in life. If you feel like you HAVE to do something, it’s suddenly less appealing to do it – especially if it’s the same thing over and over again. But if you can find a way to make it new and interesting, you can prevent those dreaded doldrums. So go ahead and do something a little bit wild and crazy. Cook something you’ve never cooked, take a day drive to a new place, give yourself a haircut (it’ll grow back, I promise!), try a new activity like yoga or knitting. Just because COVID is keeping us from doing ‘normal’ things, that doesn’t mean it should keep us from living life.