A little over three years ago, I sat on a deserted beach separated from civilization by three miles of sand dune, peeled back the cover of a brand new Moleskine notebook and wrote a list of 50 things I wanted to accomplish in my life. I didn’t set limitations or qualifications, I just wrote.
I guess I was feeling particularly ambitious during that time; I had just graduated college and signed a lease in a new city. In the last days of that summer, I felt like I had the rest of my life stretched out before me like a big, open, blank book, waiting to be written in. The whole world felt like it was six inches from my fingertips. I was bound by nothing; no debt, no obligations, no expectations — there was only possibility.
I remember that summer as an anxious waiting period before the start of “real life.” After graduation, I moved to my family’s home on Cape Cod for the summer, where I lived with my mom until the start of my September lease in Boston. Everyone kept telling me how lucky I was to have a summer of basically doing nothing, but I found it nearly impossible to enjoy the leisure. Here I was at the starting gates to the rest of my life and I had to wait for them to open for me. I spent the summer pawing anxiously at the ground beneath those gates, counting the days, the hours, the seconds until I was released into the world.
It’s probably not surprising that when “real life” finally came around, it presented a number of problems for me. I found myself riddled with constant anxiety, I struggled to find people who I could connect with in this new city, I settled for a job that amounted to a lot of pushing around paper, and within a year my longest relationship was in ruins. I accepted the possibility that my dreams might just be dreams and that the items I wrote down in that Moleskine a few years before were probably logistical impossibilities. I’d take out the list every so often and remark to myself that it was nice to aim high, but maybe I should think about more realistic alternatives to my dreams, or content myself with focusing on a few I knew I could achieve. I felt haunted by the portrait of my future life that I had painted many years ago. We grow up with huge plans for our lives, believing we’re each so incredibly unique, but when the gates to adulthood finally open, we’re left to cope with the possibility that we’re not all pack leaders, that maybe most of our lives will end up being the average of our best dreams and our worst fears.
Three years ago, on the second line of a page titled “Dreams,” I wrote down “be an editor at a well-known magazine,” and a few lines later “get paid to write about food.” This September, I crossed those items off my list. A month ago, I left my job for a dream position as an editor with a well-known culinary magazine. Every day for the last month, as I’ve adjusted to life at my new job, I’ve had to pinch myself. I’ve truly never been happier or felt there was more possibility ahead of me.
Though it’s been awhile since I’ve written here, I felt the need to tell those of you who have supported Two Veggies over the last three years. Though I didn’t realize it until recently, this blog has been the guiding light; a true lesson that even if the options seem limited, there’s always a path back to your dreams. As writing takes a more central part in my life, I’m planning on updating here more and more; not just about food, but about writing, life in Boston, life as a professional cook and editor.
I hope to see you around here.