I am a middle child. Being a middle child often means going with the flow. What the older siblings say goes. For many years, I just sort of went with it. And it worked just fine.
When I went off to college, I felt the same way. Things would probably just work out if I worked hard and did my best. It mostly did, and I was pretty happy with how things were going in school. For most of college I just assumed I would finish my degree, get married, have kids and hopefully be able to stay home with those kids, and maybe use my degree if I needed to.
I approached my last year of college missing the key element to that plan: a man to marry, and I panicked. Suddenly, for the first time, I had to start thinking about what I wanted to do afterward I graduated. I had never really thought hard about what I wanted to do, because I figured if I had lots of dreams that never came to fruition, I would be disappointed that my life hadn't turned out that way. But I started to realize my life might not go the way I had always planned.
Would I go to graduate school? Find a job? Was my major even useful? I wasn't sure what I wanted out of life. Particularly if I hadn't yet found someone to share it with. I began to realize that I could go anywhere and and do just about anything. And that was incredibly scary. Going with the flow that I had always followed wasn't really an option anymore. I needed some concrete plans for my future.
A few months and a lot of research later, I decided to prepare to get a master's degree in Technical Costume Design (the professionals who pattern super hard/complicated costumes in the costume shop. Up to that point, I was only qualified to work as a seamstress in the costume shop, and didn't pattern anything). I figured that after that, I could go work at a university, a Shakespeare Festival or something equally adult.
Of course, during this process Adam and I started dating seriously, a few months later we got engaged and shortly after I graduated, we got married, so my life plans changed again. Suddenly graduate school seemed like kind of a waste if I didn't want to travel a lot for my job (costuming usually requires moving where ever the job is), which I didn't, and I had no idea what kind of master's degree I would get it if wasn't in costuming. So I put those plans on the back burner and got a regular job.
But thoughts of a career and fulfilling some personal dreams had taken root, and I wanted to continue to grow creatively and always be learning new skills. So I started blogging, because like most creatives working in a non-creative job, I needed some kind of outlet to stay sane. I started cooking a lot, and somewhere in there minimalism/green living accidentally fell into my lap.
Each one gradually entered my life, but grew stronger as I started to learn about them and apply them to my everyday life. The more I worked at them, the more I loved them, and they really felt right for me.
Through all of this, I think my takeaway is that having a goal, and working towards it is really much more fulfilling than going with the flow. At least for me. There must always be flexibility in trying to reach my goal, because plans, and circumstances almost always change, but having a plan makes for a happier life. In the end, always moving forward and progressing is one of the key ways for me to be happy.
Carrot, Fennel and Dill Soup:
Serves 2-3 generously
1 Tbs oil
2 lbs carrots, cut into rounds
1-2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
2 Tbs fresh dill, stems removed and chopped, or 1 tsp dry dill weed
4 cups water
Sprinkle of pepper
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
drizzle of olive oil
small sprinkle of dill
In a stock pot, heat your oil and add the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are just starting to soften. Add the fennel and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until the carrots and fennel pieces are just beginning to brown (don't let them burn!). Add the water, pepper, salt and garlic powder. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn the temperature back down and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes until the carrots and fennel are really soft. Add the dill and stir in.
Remove from heat, and put in a blender in batches or all at once if you have a large blender. Blend for 40-60 seconds until the soup is smooth.
Top with a quick drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of dill and generously dust with toasty almonds. Enjoy!