Lately I have been reflecting on how my life in the kitchen compares to my life out in the world.  I’m risky in the kitchen and throw out “the rules.” I allow myself to experiment and totally let go of things being perfect.  I set free the need to do things right. I am not great at following recipes. I like to be practical, using things that I have in my refrigerator or pantry instead of going out and buying specific ingredients all the time.  So, often I decide to put my own twist on a recipe by adding something different or leaving something out. I choose me, my time, and what feels right or what is inspiring me in the moment. I whisk myself away from any worries or what ifs.  I keep it simple, have fun with it, and know that it’s not so serious. Even when I share a meal with a friend, I’m not concerned with what they think, or if they’ll be upset that I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, or if it’s not how people usually do it.  More often than not, my risks in the kitchen are delicious. This releasing the rules of the recipe brings me delight.

All of those worries and what ifs that I mentioned seem so silly when put in the context of being in the kitchen and preparing a meal, yet those are the thoughts that race through my head in other situations.  One thing has been constant for me in this last decade of my life, and that is that I have been a rule follower. Some might say that’s not a bad thing, as rules are put in place for reasons. Many of these “rules” that I follow, however, might all be in my own head, perhaps in the form of judgement, self-criticism, and unnecessary worry.  I’m learning to surrender, though, reminding myself that just like decisions about cooking, everything in life doesn’t have to be so serious. Instead of worrying about “what if,” I’m starting to be curious about it. I want to experiment and see what actually happens if. I’m turning 40 this month, and as the next decade of my life starts, I intend to live it like the whole world is the kitchen – following my own recipe, confident that whatever is inside me will be the perfect ingredients to create a life that’s delicious and fills me with pure delight.