Growing up as an American in the Midwest, vegetables were not a main ingredient, but more of a reluctant afterthought. Sandwiches might have a bit of lettuce and an occasional tomato, and were usually paired with some version of fried potato. Botanically a vegetable, but more of a starch and once fried, nutritionally suspect. That said, the red peppers shown here are actually fruit, but considered a vegetable from a culinary standpoint, like green beans and cucumbers. Botanists and chefs apparently don’t hang out much. Most vegetables I ate as a kid came out of a can and were heated until they were pronounced dead, and therefore ready to eat. It was difficult to prefer vegetables back then as they simply didn’t taste very good. Moms up and down my block were constantly coaxing kids by saying “eat your vegetables,” which were often just slices of soggy carrots or puddles of corn. I’ve heard this phrase used today to mean doing the responsible thing even if it’s unfavorable. I’m sure those who use it in that fashion, had a similar experience with vegetables while growing up.
As an adult, I now mostly eat vegetables, which apparently puts me in an American minority as only 1 in 10 folks here eat the appropriate amount. But when it comes to other resposible things, I have to admit that I’m often caught trying to avoid actually doing them. Everything from preparing taxes to taking the recycling to the bin gets put on hold. I’ll eventually get to these tasks, of course, but not until I’ve systemically exhausted all the options I can think of to avoid doing them. I seem to always forget the rush of accomplishment that I feel when tasks like these are completed. I’m too fixated on the arduous feeling of actually doing them. Weirdly, I’m equally guilty of avoiding things I truly enoy in the same fashion. When it comes to starting that book I’d love to write, I’ll find other things that need doing instead and whine to myself that I don’t have the time. Which, of course, I don’t, but it was simply a self-inflicted choice I made.
Thankfully, my watercolor sketching and this little bit of writing for these posts have become a good habit. Something I always seem to make time for even on the busiest of days, like today. And doing so has proven to me that it’s entirely possible to make time for absolutely anything that you truly want to do. Time is never really the issue. For me, it’s often a combination of self-doubt and fear of failing at something. If I don’t try something, then it’s absolutely impossible to fail. This is perfectly silly thinking, of course, as the real truth is that in doing so, I’ve also made it impossible to succeed. When I feel that little bit of fear that slows me down, though, I can usually get through it if I listen to a different voice inside my head. This one is less critical and bitchy, but still a bit stern, and sounds vaguely like a concerned mother, passionately whispering, “eat your vegetables.”