Lately I have been on a mission to balance my life well. Last year I totally burnt out hard... It was rough. I ended up leaving my job over it. I took a whole month off to figure out what I wanted to do going forward, and thats when I decided to ramp up my mentoring enough to support myself and no more. I am spending the rest of my time working on projects I like, or working out, or learning new hobbies.
My favorite new hobby that I just picked up super recently is cooking. I have literally never made anything other than salsa and burgers in my entire life. Both of which I would do begrudgingly. However now with all this free time I decided to bust out some of the Home Chefs my fiance typically makes and fire up the oven myself! That first night I made prosciutto flatbread's, I burned the edges of the flat breads but just barely, for the most part they where perfect. I was amazed that I was able to make something that tasted so damn good. The second night I made some Korean Pork Tacos and they where the bomb.com. The food isn't the point of this article though. The feeling I got while cooking was.
There was this weird peace to making a quality meal for myself. In the past any time I made a meal for myself it tasted like shit. Some microwave burrito or bagel bites or something of that caliber. I would feel sluggish and disgusting after eating it and the whole experience was bad. I feel like this pattern enforces me to want food from sources that aren't me (like a restaurant, post-mates, or my fiance) only after ALL those options where off the table would I decide "Fine I will throw something in the microwave", because in my head making meals was this negative block of memories dating back as far as I can remember.
But this time was different, as I was "Stemming rosemary" and chopping onions I had a weird "connection" with nature feeling that I had not had since I was a camp counselor in the middle of no-where Rocksprings, Texas. It was really cool. As I was caramelizing onions all these smells entered the air, there was fire, I was of course at risk of burning the food. It felt like one of those "border of order and chaos" moments, where you feel as if you are taming the elements. And I knew that at the end of this every bite would carry an immense sense of accomplishment, instead of some greasy shame filled microwave burrito it was a dancing array of excellence, and that makes me want to cook even more!
For those of you who cook a lot you might think I'm crazy. But it's new to me and it feel exciting in the same way learning to rock climb or snow board was exciting. I am stoked to do a lot more of it in the future!
This is not unlike when I was learning to program. For a long time the only things I could make where shitty and embarrassing. It made me never want to touch the keyboard again. It was a lot like the viscous cycle I spoke about above. But I kept trying, I kept reaching out for help, I kept slanging code, and then one day I programmed a delicious pork taco, and I knew I wanted more. I knew that this would be my career and I could keep learning, keep getting better and eventually conquer the Everest of teaching myself to code.