Creating the perfect recipe for life is an ongoing experiment. We seemingly create it with little thought to the ingredients; measuring; or how much time we have.
I was thinking of this when making my grandmother’s “secret” peanut butter cookie recipe. I’m pretty sure it’s still a secret, because it carried the penalty of death if you divulged it. And if you knew my grandmother, you’d know no one would challenge her. She’s been gone about 30 years, but she’d still know. Her way of measuring the ingredients was a “pinch of this”, and a “dash of that”. “Bake until done”. She passed this method on to her daughters, who in turn, passed it down to their daughters and sons. And so it goes.
So the thing about these cookies is I was thinking about adding my own special ingredient. As I was mixing them, I thought, isn’t life like a recipe? We all start with the same basic ingredients and as we journey on, we refine the recipe and make it our own by the ingredients we add, the way we measure them, how we mix them; and how long they get to bake.
I spent my first years using the same basic ingredients. I measured carefully, and didn’t change them much from what most do at this point for ingredients – play, education and other work. The next couple of decades I got more creative. I married and a few years later started a family, all the while continuing to work outside the home. Careful measuring was the word of the day.
Soon the ingredients changed more, but now with little thought, if any, as to how they were measured. Like most women, I took on more and more. Little did I realize that in taking on political campaigns; board memberships; women’s groups memberships; homeschooling; all around caregiver to everyone; and returning to school, I was taking from each of these, what would go into creating my own life recipe.
I now have my recipe established. I have the basic ingredients to which I’ve added “pinches of this” and “dashes of that” – all derived from things I’ve learned along life’s journey. I’ve learned the value of caring and making time for other people; that I have strength when I think I have none; and if the floor isn’t clean enough to eat off – that’s why we have tables and laps. I learned I can be obsessive and smothering, but that is what helps me reach goals and see what needs to be done. Like water flowing down a river, I’m impetuous, but at least I’m moving. I have learned no ingredient is a mistake.
I have also learned, we are imperfect; accept our faults and celebrate our differences. It all goes into the final batch and generally winds up tolerable to the palate. Our life’s recipe is mixed together with these lessons and others gleaned from family, community and work. Each day is like a new batch of cookies and what we put into it determines the results. Some days are half-baked; some are overdone; some are just right.
For now, my ingredients stay pretty much the same as I focus my energies on those things that help people move forward. I still don’t measure. And how will I know when I’ve finished life’s tasks? Bake until done.
What’s your life recipe?
Not My Gramma’s Recipe