I think it’s safe to say that many of us spend quite a lot of time fantasizing about having other people’s lives. Or even our own, before we had kids/gained 30 pounds/bought the house. We daydream about what it might be like to have more money, live abroad or be able to run a marathon. I know I am guilty of this, even to the extent that I can be acutely unaware of the blessings I do have, in favour of having someone else’s.
(I think, probably, that those feelings are magnified by our interactions in social media, where we tend to only reveal the aspects of our lives that are working well: the moments that are beautiful, tranquil, and graceful. It makes us feel like everyone else’s lives are somehow more charmed than ours).
I read something lately that gave me pause. Though I don’t remember the exact quote, the notion behind it was that the boundaries in our lives are what makes them interesting.
Truly, we tend to admire the folks who have pushed against the boundaries in their lives, rather than those who have never known limitation. We are inspired by the story of the single mom going back to school to earn her doctorate, or the Ironman triathlete who, just a year before, battled with obesity.
The article used as an example people who have won a large amount of money playing the lottery. Even with, presumably, all the options the world has to offer opened up to them, we hear stories of them faltering. Perhaps, when we’ve had to work hard and sacrifice for the degree, the personal best, the cushy job, or the waterfront home, we appreciate them more? Or maybe it’s just that any story of overcoming the odds and challenging our limits is a rich one to relive.
Mostly, lately, I’ve been reminding myself of this as I explore the big “what nexts” of life. Truthfully, of course, it was easier to imagine traveling the world or starting a business or embarking on a freelance writing career before the stakes were so high; before I bought a house, got married and had my daughter. But because those aspects of my life, true blessings that they are, do create in my life a bounded reality, I need to use my imagination to see how, just maybe, with a little hard work and creativity, I might be able to live out both the height of my dreams and the depth of the roots I’ve begun to put down. To balance the boundaries of my life against my yearning for limitless exploration. To have it all, perhaps.
This salad is living outside all the boundaries we have created around what salad should be.
(which is what I would say to segue awkwardly into that food thing that this blog is supposed to be about).
It would be silly to write a recipe for this, because it’s just bitter greens (arugula would be great; I used some mixed greens here), strawberries, some feta or goat cheese, your choice of nuts (I used walnuts) and dark chocolate, chopped finely and sprinkled over the whole thing. I finished mine with olive oil and a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette that I found at Liquid Gold, but you could use any high quality, dark balsamic vinegar.