Well. I turn 30 this week.
The writer part of me wants to search deeply for some metaphor and marrow.
The cook side of me hopes people will buy me a drink or two and maybe feed me something good — something that I don’t have to cook myself.
How do you sum up your twenties?
Well. You don’t really.
But I’d like to say something here, at least.
If our younger years are as formative as they say, then this decade has been about lessons.
Lessons on humanity and grace. Humility and power. Love and divorce.
It has been about justice and injustice. Spending moments with the poor. Seeing the faces of women who sell their bodies to feed their children; who work off a debt they had no say in.
With that, sprang some sort of well, deep in my heart. An overly-sensitive southern boy living in a world that is bright and loud and sometimes very violent.
Time rounds off the edges like sand blowing against a sharp rock over them years. Some softness gets added. Softness is like learning and understanding that you’re going to keep making mistakes and learning your whole life.
Softness is going easy on one’s self.
Cheeseburgers add to my softness.
I learned how to be fierce, too. In the kitchen. I found so much in the kitchen. I found a heartbeat, a thicker skin, and something that drives and feels like some engine rumbling in my belly. It gives me confidence and passion. It gives me my own forms of justice and grace and I keep getting to learn what works.
The kitchen saved me from a lot of self-damage, and has given me a life I never thought I’d be able to stomach. But somehow, some way, this sensitive and quiet dude found a life and love for it. Regardless of which way my life turns, I am thankful the kitchen has been a part of it.
There is much growth in your twenties. You are still a baby, really. And then adult stuff hits you hard. Like money and rent and love. Sometimes you get married and you might have a baby or two or three.
Sometimes it works for you.
Sometimes it doesn’t.
And sometimes you’re in between all of that.
Sometimes you want to crawl underneath your bed with all those socks you’ve been missing and stay there until the noise dies down.
Fortunately for humans, we move. And we move forward.
Perhaps the biggest lesson in the past decade of my life is that we aren’t going to feel heartbroken forever.
We are going to be sad. We are going to hurt and see painful things that will change us.
But we also get to move around and squirm and sometimes settle. Like finding that sweet spot at night before you go to bed.
There were times I wish I would have dipped my toes into the sea. Or climbed higher or pushed myself to walk just a little bit further. I think we all feel that way sometimes. At least that’s what I’m learning.
And I’m learning that kindness is a gift. Something for yourself and others.
I learned that maybe the planet with those beautiful rings around it pulled me closer and allowed me to see myself and my life at a different angle. I know it might be silly to think of the planets like that, but I think there was some gravity there — it coming around to me being as close as it was when I came into the world all hot and red and pissed. It pulled the water in my body upwards and out — allowing me to open my heart to this wild and gracious time.
So yes — lessons and learning.
And I’ve cooked so much food and have fed so many people. I am so damn thankful I get to do something I really enjoy, for at least this time in my life — it works. And it might not some day. So, I’m going to live in this and work hard to make things better.
I joke that I have been 30’ish for about 6 years and it’s probably true. I am an old soul, some say. I am not afraid of getting older, only I do like to think about the time that has passed. I like to know what has helped me and what has hurt me. It takes us a while to learn, but we get there.
And I am getting there.