Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Out of the Ordinary

This morning, I looked at two houses, either of which, in theory, could be my next home.  In theory, but not in reality, because one of them is too expensive, the other one I didn’t like that much, and they both have way too much space for what I need.  Nevertheless, there is something about looking at homes that are in need of new owners that is kinda dreamy.  It’s an out-loud dreaming, an acknowledging of the fact, that yes, I’m really doing this thing where I go off in search of the last piece of the puzzle for my grown-up life.  I don’t need a husband or a baby to feel like a grown-up; I just need a front porch, a mortgage, and maybe some potted plants.

I suspect that this home-hunting process will be slow-going because as much as the market may be urging us all to buy, buy, BUY!, I’m just not in a hurry.  It’s too big of a decision, involving too much money that has taken me too many years to earn.  Because buying a home involves such large sums of money, it feels a lot like putting my life on the line.  Once I fork my down payment over to the bank, I can’t use that money for an emergency trip to Europe or to fund that scenario where I decide to leave behind my day job so that I can write my first book.  Once I sign on the dotted line, I sign away a certain sense of freedom that still waits for me, should I decide to change paths.  Honestly, it’s scary to commit to something that threatens to clip my wings.  It’s scary enough to make me want to rent, forever and ever, just to maintain the fantasy of living a different life.  But then I realize that I have to be brave enough to forge a truce between my nesting, homebuying instincts and my run-for-the-hills instincts.  It makes me wonder if that’s what being a grown-up is really about: finding a compromise between conflicting desires.

Looking at houses, like I did this morning, seems like it might be the easy part of this process.  I felt like I took a few steps out of my comfort zone, and that felt great.  It was liberating, like I was shaking off something that used to comfort me and now threatens to stifle me.  Another event that was outside of my comfort zone was Sunday night’s dinner.  I made an unusual salad, one that featured chickpeas, green onions, parsley, and radishes, and the whole thing was topped by a soft-boiled egg.  To make the salad, I had to boil an egg!  That may sound rather mundane, but I can’t remember the last time I boiled an egg, or if I’ve ever boiled an egg in my whole life.  It was exciting!  The water was hot!  The egg was brown!  I didn’t cook it properly!  But I didn’t die!

Exciting eggs aside, the most intriguing aspect of this salad was the amount of parsley.  Two whole cups of parsley leaves!  That’s a lot of parsley.  I was lazy and went a tiny bit lighter on the parsley, but still: it was like “Parsley Salad with Some Other Stuff in It.”  Parsley can be a little rigid, a little sharp-toothed, but it is incredibly refreshing and not something I always have hanging out in my fridge.  Eaten with a hunk of baguette, I was reminded all over again how parsley can make the difference between boring and brilliant.

Parsley and Radish Tails

So in less than three days, I’ve done two exciting, out-of-the-ordinary things, and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.  For someone who was chafing from her own security blanket, I seem to have shoved it aside in favor of something bigger, fresher, greener.  And one of these days, I’ll figure out how to boil eggs.  Promise.

Funky Salad for Dinner

Above is Gabrielle Hamilton’s Chickpea Salad with Four-Minute Eggs, posted by Luisa on The Wednesday Chef

So tell me dear readers, what have you done lately that is out of the ordinary for you?  Come on, be brave and share your story!  You can do it!

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