When you were a kid were you ever called to the dinner table and presented with something “yucky”? If you were raised anything like I was then your face was probably un-scrunched with a “You WILL eat it, and you will do so with gratitude.”
If I found a genie in a bottle and he told me he could change one thing about me right then and there; I know exactly what it would be. No, it wouldn’t be my painful stubbornness (I like that part of me). If I found a genie in a bottle and he could grant me one self-changing wish, I would want him to erase my incredible ability to stress about everything in life. I’m so good at it now, that I practically need to start putting it on my resume.
When my brother first told me about the village of Loneliville he said that it sucked. I thought he was exaggerating. After I ended up moving to the village of Loneliville this past November (with no more than a backpack in tow) I discovered that it did indeed… suck. You see, when you move out to Nowhere USA you give up little inconsequential things like grocery stores and shopping and access to medical care.
I moved into the business as their brand new Marketing Coordinator. I was the new kid on the block. Young, privileged, and well-educated.* Not only is the village only 891 people, but it’s also the home to one of the most influential-religious-parenting-guru families which means that their presence their name and their reputation is pervasive. This is something that is entirely foreign to me. Everywhere that I have ever lived I was surrounded my nobodies and that suited me just fine.
Upon arrival to the village I was provided with a place to sleep with two other girls that worked for the same company. I’m fully aware that I’m more spoiled than some, but when I discovered that my living arrangements were roach infested, that the roof leaked, that the heat didn’t really work, that the place smelled like sewage, and that the tub didn’t drain – I thought I just might not make it. (For more on why I stayed read this and thank the heavens for an incredible brother/coworker) I worked 8-5:00pm Monday-Friday at the business and then left for the weekend to spend time in a “thriving metropolis” in Kentucky. And that’s pretty much been my flow since last November.
The good news, though, is that I have something even better in my life than a genie. I have —- me. And I’ve got some magical powers of my own. My motto in life right now is “You have a limited number of things that you can stress out about at the same time.” So choose wisely, self. You only have a limited number of cares that can be given in a lifetime. So give your cares where they count.
One care that I love to give is that of healthy, meaningful eating. I mean who doesn’t want to have a strong, healthy body and who doesn’t want to make their dollar votes count when it comes to the food industry? But have you ever noticed how tricky of a thing eating really is? No matter where you live it has to happen several times a day – every day. And there are like a million different ways to do it. And if you have the money or the resources or the access or the friends then you can eat however you want. You can go to restaurants. You can go to parties. You can go to people’s houses. And you can eat exactly how you would like to eat. Even better than that people might not even tease you for it – you’ll probably just blend right in with all the other people that eat like you.
In Loneliville eating became stressful to me. Those first few weeks I just chose to not eat instead of eating the food available. Vegan just fits me. I unashamedly love everything about veganism and even though some of its followers are intense I appreciate it still. Veganism is something I have struggled with mentally for many years. I want it, but my lifestyle doesn’t and I have no vegan friends and no vegan family members. And I live in a tiny community with limited food options. And I work insane schedules and can no longer prep and carry around vegan food everywhere I go.
There are only so many things you can stress out about at one time.
You have a limited number of cares that you can give in this life.
I admit it. The formerly gluten-free, allergen-free, healthy nutty vegan now accepts every kind of food – even the most nutritionally lacking food-like item. Even when that nutritionally lacking food-like item is nuked in the microwave. I eat it. Nope, I might not be as healthy. I might have even gained some extra weight. But when your life takes a bumpy turn there are only so many battles that you can fight at one time. And do it… with gratitude.
Maybe your “thing” isn’t a food struggle. Maybe it’s a job. Or a car. Or a housing situation. Or even a person! But if it’s your time to just give…just bend a little… do it with gratitude for what you’ve got. You’ll get your chance soon enough.
With Gratitude and Love,
*The only person in the entire company with a college degree…