||TANYA ENBERG, Chic Savvy Travels
These three words hit my ears like daggers. Dull daggers, but daggers nonetheless: “I would but …”
It’s the lazy man’s — or woman’s — exit. The stuck-in-a-rut, three-word recipe for inaction. An excuse, an escape plan, evidence of a massive reluctancy to change.
It’s strange because as much as we might pride ourselves on being creatures of habit, change really is the pulse of living. It keeps our brains sharp and going strong on the development track, wiring us up with new, funky neuron pathways to explore.
This is the reason the “I would but” can, well, kiss my butt.
I’ve heard this slacker sentiment many times, and I always cringe slightly when someone can look me straight in the eye and pass on such a weak, unoriginal and fragile lie. Like a moth-eaten sweater paper, it’s airy and thin. If you were to really call someone out on their handy “I would but” reasons, you could easily tear their excuses to shreds.
I know a lot of folks who are miserable in their lives. They may have crappy jobs, crappy bosses and crappy lifestyles. I’ve been there, had the nasty boss who was always chirp, chirp, chirping away at ridiculously fast speeds. It wasn’t natural and it made my head spin daily.
Worse, though, than the constant Chihuahua-style yapping of orders was how out of whack this person was on the integrity scale and completely imbalanced in life.
If you’ve ever had a boss somehow drag everyone down around them and inspire the worst in folks rather than the best, you know exactly what I mean. Such negativity is a type of social cancer — it spreads quickly and aggressively and sucks the energy, joy and vitality out of those around it.
I am shocked by how many people will expose themselves to such toxicity, sometimes for years on end. More shocking is how much they bitch and complain about it instead of chasing down their own happiness and taking charge. Insert the old, pathetic “I would but …” here.
I just heard from a former colleague who, completely miserable in her job situation, still sticks it out. It’s been the same story for the past year. One year. That’s a hell of a lot of time, don’t you think?
Life is short and trust me, wasting that kind of time and mental space in unhappy surroundings is wasteful. Sometimes, ya gotta cut your losses, dust off the grime and bad-energy residue, and walk away. Get off your butt and make a change, dammit!
Truly, there is nothing more empowering than following your gut, creating your own path and discovering what truly makes waking up in the morning a pleasure.
Many times over, I’ve reshaped, reworked and realigned myself, and while it can be scary leaping into the unknown, having the confidence to do so is like reaching for a key and unlocking your very own heart. Life, short and sweet thing that it is, deserves to be lived bursting with happiness, not dragged through like a daily chore. It is meant to be dived into, to feel the wild, refreshing rush of it jolting you awake. It deserves to be lived authentically and healthily.
So, here comes my latest change. To some, it will seem minor, but to me, it’s massive. I realized on a recent trip to South Africa that there was something still not right in this wonderful, happy world of mine. It came down to one simple basic necessity of life — food.
I’ve been to some incredible places on this earth, and many of them pride themselves on their food — recipes that have stood the test of time, that have been passed down from one generation to the next with great care. This is what I’ve often noticed — the food has generally been incredible and flavourful, but the whole process is on a whole other level of impressiveness.
In Mexico, the amazing dishes have history and are still the focal point of bringing families together for lively, chit-chatty meals. In Italy, well damn, sometimes the fresh, multi-course dinners are the evening. They can last three hours, which with fresh basil, tomatoes picked straight off the vine, prosciutto and pesto pasta isn’t exactly a horrible way to spend a night.
In France, folks linger along the Sienne with freshly baked baguettes and enjoy great selections of cheese, and in Greece, there is no travel time — daily catches come straight from the sea to grill.
You know where none of these meals come from? The damn frozen food aisle, that’s where.
These long, unhurried meals have long fascinated me. And yes, sometimes they’ve irritated me as well. Type A Tanya often had somewhere else to be. Sometimes I didn’t have the space for truly relaxing and enjoying a meal without rushing. Fresh herbs, spices, hand-rolled dough and stoves full of recipes where every ingredient was known and accounted for impressed the socks off of me. And for years, when it came to cooking, I said, “I would but …”
Largely, in the busy metropolis of Toronto, these skills and the lifestyle that accompanies them have fallen by the wayside in favour of commutes and ladders, and an obsessive focus on earning more and more of the green stuff to buy more crappy stuff with.
I’d rush around juggling a zillion things (many of which I didn’t give a hoot about) and toss a frozen meal in the microwave when I had a spare second. Sometimes, the spare second never came and I’d keep on trucking through with a grumbling tummy. How against nature is that?
I would but I don’t know how. I would but I am busy. I would but it’s too hard and takes too much time.
Then, something hit.
For a month now, I’ve been once again kicking “buts” stubborn ass, making homemade meals in which, you got it, every ingredient is accounted for.
And, can I tell you, of all the changes I’ve made, from walking away from unsatisfying relationships, jobs and bad life habits, this one shocks me the most.
This change, and it’s a biggie for me, has added even more joy to an already joyful life. As the heavenly scent of South African brown curry fills my house or homemade spaghetti sauce simmers away, I think man, I made that. Pretty cool.
The greatest change is in how I feel — fully energized. Finally, I am coming to understand the difference between being full and feeling satisfied.
While I’ve long been a fitness gal, I couldn’t have been my healthiest sustaining myself on takeaway grub and frozen food. While I chose the so-called “good ones” instead of the fatty frozen finds, they’re still packed with salt and ingredients no one should really be ingesting on a regular basis. So, they’re gone. Now, I freeze leftovers and bundles of herbs to use at a later date. If someone were to investigate the goods in my fridge and cupboards right now, they’d be hard pressed to find instant anything.
Thankfully, traveling has left a long-lasting impression. It took some time, but eventually I soaked up the lessons like bread does olive oil.
Once the convenience-food pattern was broken, it vanished like moth dust. It comes down to making a decision. Dislike your job? Living unhealthily? Stuck in a rut? Carrying on in a bad relationship? Feeling uninspired and unchallenged? Make a decision to change.
When you decide to do something, and I mean really decide, it is firm and unwavering.
In this case, I took inspiration from lovingly made meals over years of travel and, eventually, got the message — it’s time to change. No if, ands, or buts. Decision made.
Date Added: May 26, 2011 | Comments (1)
Wow good on you Tanya, my son and his wife have done this also and I have reaped the rewards.
Comment by Dagmar — June 10, 2011 @ 12:14 pm