When I was in college, I ate so much fast food. I rarely grocery shopped. I was so intimidated by the process of eating at home. To me, eating at home meant budgeting, planning, shopping, cooking, and dealing with the messy aftermath. Each of those things alone intimidated me. Take shopping. I didn't want to do it unless I could do it consciously. Consciously meant caring about sourcing, ingredients, cost-effectiveness, and environmental impact. It seemed like so much effort, because the actual cooking part felt like such a gamble. What if it didn't even turn out? Forget it! I'm not doing it.
This is classic Maddie Brain. I want it ALL RIGHT NOW OR NOTHING. #recoveringextremist
I'm sharing this because last week I noticed we spontaneously entertained three nights in a row. And it wasn’t a strain. Somewhere between college and now, I’ve become a little housekeeper who cooks, and it’s part of my daily routine. So much so, that inviting someone into the mix is literally no big deal.
And I'm thinking…HOW?!
Looking back, I'm noticing how it happened, and some of the resources that were more important than any methods.
DISCOVERING ALLIES: I think the biggest thing was seeing someone else manage it; and not just manage it, enjoy it. I could ask this person questions, tag along with them to the farmer's market, snag recipes, and watch them. Another huge asset was having an ally who wanted the same thing, who wasn't a pro yet. Somebody who could appreciate my effort and not judge the result right away, because they didn't know any better than I did. (Oh hi Mitch.)
JUST DOING IT: Starting was powerful too, I think. The snowball effect happened as I integrated new things one-by-one.
ACCEPTING MEDIOCRE: Trying was worthwhile even if it didn’t yield the perfect outcome on the first try. I guess along the way improvement became a bigger goal than ideal. For example, canned beans and pre-shredded cheese on a tortilla at home was better than Taco Bell.
BUILDING ON MOMENTUM: I've learned too much for me today, won’t be too much tomorrow, and things build on themselves. Like with burritos, once I was making them at home with packaged ingredients, at some point cooking beans in a crockpot every couple weeks and shredding my own cheese didn't seem that intense. Eventually, buying organic and local ingredients to do that seemed doable too.
ANTICIPATING SOLUTIONS: Little things became easier and easier, just by keeping an eye out and waiting for solutions to pop up. Turns out there's a gal at the farmer's market who's passionate about making sourdough bread. Baking bread feels like a lot to me today, but I want fresh homemade bread. I put "homemade bread" on my list of things I'd like to add to my lifestyle, and BAM! One week at the market, there she is. A solution for today.
I'm beginning to believe these resources are valuable for any type of learning and growth. Tips, tricks, and hacks are awesome and so helpful, especially when they come from allies. But, learning a method doesn't really create a lifestyle or lasting change unless I'm doing these things: getting started, embracing the clumsiness before mastery, and continuing with the process, recognizing new tools as they show up.
There are still so many things I'd like to add and improve in my life. Instead of stock-piling all I've learned so far, like trinkets I can lock away, I want to keep practicing and exercising the skills I've learned, and continue to play with new challenges, integrating them into the mix.
I want to be an ally for others, since allies are so important to me. Embracing the above process is primary, but having methods to try along the way is how we start right? So, Cord and I will be sharing methods as part of a series about developing lifestyle routines. In honor of what I shared here, I'm going to kick things off with the things I do now to eat at home. From there, apparently entertaining isn't a huge leap. So, that will probably come next.
I hope my methods are a support to you in your process. I believe in starting somewhere. I'm learning with writing, homemaking, mothering, and most everything else, that when shaping a skill it helps when there's something there to refine.
Instead of pursuing ALL RIGHT NOW OR NOTHING, maybe it's better to chase ALL IN GOOD TIME.