They say only those looking for it find it.
They say only those open to it experience it.
I was pondering the beauty and ubiquitousness of “opportunity” last week while trying to curb my insatiable appetite for more. Digging through my embarrassing supply of ‘no food in the house’ food, I found abundance everywhere.
Was it convenient? No. Most of the food was the furthest thing from that, requiring time in the kitchen watching water boil, waiting for frozen items to thaw, slicing up ingredients…
Was I perfect? No. I caved a few times. I impulse bought the juicy magwinyas being sold by the street vendors stationed outside the hospital gate.
Did I say vendor? You know what time it is…
Ahem. Sorry. Back to lamenting about how many times I failed at my quest not to buy new food…
A friend and I had a little local excursion and both had our first ever kotas (I know, I know. What an embarrassment to South Africa we are. But we’re working on it.)
There were at least two days of Dry Lemon and slaptjips from the cute little hospital spaza. I was by no measure completely shopping out of my pantry considering these purchases, but I wasn’t too hard on myself. I have a voracious appetite and even my best meal prepping often only lasts four meals (which, for me, is barely even two days excluding breakfast so…)
Was it fun? Yes…and no. Days when I actually had meals prepped and ready to go were a blast. I would sit back and leisurely savour each meal with a smug relish that surprised even me. I’ll even say that the moments right after cooking up a batch of something were deeply satisfying. Seeing how creative I could be with a bland starting palate of ingredients really was exciting…but the novelty wore off somewhere mid-week when I discovered I was flailing in my new department, sleep deprived (once again) and needed every spare moment to just recharge and do nothing. These days made planning so much less appetising; I was just too exhausted to care that there was food in the house that I need only cook. I didn’t have a day off in sight and I just wanted to eat something and go to bed.
Was it enlightening? Absolutely.
Even on days when I was less motivated, I was more aware how many options I really had because I’d forced myself to see them.If I had twenty minutes of productivity left in me, I could boil some pasta, mash some avo in spices and toss the lot together with some feta cheese, its tart flavour melting into the fresh Mediterranean mix. Then I’d have leftover pasta for at least another day or two, which I could pair with a good sauce if I was so inclined (I wasn’t) or mix in with a simple can of spiced beans if I was feeling lazy again that day (I inevitably was).
Peanut butter and jam sandwhiches became something of a go-to luxury when paired with my bombastic hot chocolate recipe (cocoa, brown sugar, salt , cinammon and ginger spice.) and I munched on the snacks I had instead of wishing for different ones.
And then, when I was really motivated, the meals were much better than I would have been able to conjure if I weren’t trying so hard. One day I had a surge of energy which resulted in a refreshing fruit salad starter (half of the grapes and papaw that I’d bought in the reduced section at the grocery store were stars of this show–the rest got frozen–paired with some defrosted yoghurt), a main course of spaghetti with a spicy vegetarian lentil-barlotti-sausage-mushroom relish with a side of caramalised carrots (picked individually from a packet of frozen veggies!), topped off by a desert of chocolate coated nuts (just some plain salted peanuts compressed into some of that knock-off Nutellite sauce and then set to freeze so that it was more like a block than a bar) with some more hot chocolate.
I often felt satisfied and pleasantly surprised. I occasionally felt uninspired. I seldom felt frustrated and lazy.
I never felt deprived.
Opening my eyes to what I had was what I needed, not only made me more aware and appreciative of all the opportunities at my fingertips , it also made me more likely to act. It made me create my own world of possibilities.
In the words of someone I forget, opportunity begets opportunity.