On the day after my birthday — a day when I was moving slowly and late getting around to eating — I contemplated the idea of chocolate cake for breakfast.
I had a lovely rum ganache cake for my birthday, from the local Oakland bakery Taste of Denmark (which is owned by its employees). It is a very rich, very tasty, very chocolatey cake and I like it very much.
But I didn’t eat it for breakfast, because I realized that I didn’t really want cake. I wanted real breakfast: fresh fruit, homemade granola, good yogurt, some almonds.
That, I think, is being a mature adult: recognizing that you actually don’t want things that sound like indulgences because they really wouldn’t be all that enjoyable. Another piece of cake after dinner is very pleasurable, but treats are really more fun when they’re treats, not a substitute for the basics.
Someone I follow tweeted that they forgot to eat today. I responded, “You know, I am quite sure that I have never forgotten to eat.”
I have at times skipped a meal because something came up and there wasn’t time to eat, but I guarantee I was cranky about it. I can remember coming home exhausted and falling into bed without dinner.
And of course I have been too sick to eat a few times in my life. It’s a guidepost: if I don’t want to eat, I am really sick.
But I have never forgotten about a meal.
My father used to say I was always hungry. He said the day they brought me home from the hospital, I cried and carried on while he tried desperately to figure out how to get a bottle ready.
And the family made fun of me for years after the vacation when I asked, while we were eating dinner, what we were going to do for breakfast the next day.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t getting enough dinner. I just wanted to make sure there were plans for breakfast the next day. I mean, my mother was in charge and I’d already figured out that she didn’t really care that much about food.
As most readers of this blog know, I write a daily senryu (a haiku-like verse) and post it on social media. My purpose is to capture what’s on my mind each morning.
Back in March I wrote this one:
is not the purpose of life.
Not civilized yet.
I am not a professional philosopher nor a religious leader, so my pronouncements on the purpose of life are strictly those of a lay person. But I do have opinions.
I have read excellent fiction of late from people who, in addition to writing complex and thought-provoking novels, do fascinating and important work in their day jobs. I’m extremely impressed by the ability of people like Malka Older, Arkady Martine, and Andrea Hairston, just to name three, to do great work in more than one direction.
The New York Times did a piece on Stacey Abrams this week that left me exhausted just reading it. She’s leading the important fight for fair voting, might run for governor of Georgia again, and is turning out novels while finding time to read work by others.
Clearly some people are able to be usefully productive in a lot of different ways at the same time. In the case of the people I mentioned, I hope they continue to do all the things. Continue reading “The Purpose of Life”…