Something I didn’t anticipate about my move to the city this past December was that it would end in me cooking less than I used to. I mean, in theory, I have more free time than I used to when I owned a house, and I do, but I quickly began filling up some of that time eating at the many worthy restaurants within walking distance of my apartment. I’ve filled up my time with other things I can walk to: movies at the Little and Dryden, visiting museums, going out for runs, fitting in workouts at the gym. The other night was typical of how my evenings go sometimes. Jason came over so we could go check out the Spider-Man set, and as we were walking along East Avenue, we found there was a busker contest going on, and we ran into friends out on the street. Twice. So what might have been an hour out turned into a couple hours out, and I was happy it did.
About a year ago, Tanita predicted that once January 1 hit, I would start traveling a lot, and that’s also turned out to be true. I’ve been on four out-of-town trips since January, and I am busily planning the next one for the end of June. I’ve been on a couple day trips. I go for hikes and out to concerts. There’s a lot of DOING around here.
Of course, I also guard my time at home. I read and write my letters and play my piano. I write in my endless notebooks. I don’t spend as much time online, I find, and I still don’t watch nearly as much TV as I want to. I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with the newspapers. I keep thinking maybe I should stop subscribing to them because they’re expensive, and I never get to read them cover-to-cover. Some days I don’t read them at all. I do read some of the newspapers most days, though, and I learn enough interesting things that I can’t seem to quit them. For instance, this morning, I learned that LA has a subway, which how did I miss that all this time? (I must have known it at some point, but I’d forgotten, and I certainly never rode it.) I read this piece that I found interesting on a number of levels, and I also finally got to Wednesday’s NYT Dining section, which is the one part of the paper I make a point of reading cover-to-cover every week. This week featured an article about Michael Pollan making lunch. That’s the kind of thing that makes life better. Also, obviously, that’s one of the places where I get my regular Mark Bittman fixes.
Which all goes to say that one of the things I do when I’m not cooking is read about cooking. And I haven’t quit cooking altogether. I cook regularly. Just less frequently. Sometimes I eat something simple for dinner like fruit and cheese because there’s other stuff I want to get to.
Two or three years back, I was talking to Olivia about life and my troubles (I think, at the time, it was dealing with anxiety, but I don’t rightly remember), and she said one of those simple things that I already knew but that I really heard and remembered and have thought about a lot since, “You can’t settle in because life is always changing, and that’s a good thing.”
This move has been successful in that I am living more of the life I wanted to live. My energy isn’t being sucked away by chores that bring me no long-term joy, and I’m focusing my energy on things I love and believe in. I’ve mentioned a couple people, but not all the people. I’ve been able to focus on my relationships, too–lots of talks and quality time. I still don’t know precisely where I’m going, but I know I’m walking in the right direction.
Well, lately, I’ve been running.
And now I have to make some lunch.