TheRemindHer: You are not a potato
If you are to know nothing else about me, know that my love for potatoes runs deep and wide, friends - deep and wide.They are my favourite food. And come breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or snack - there’s a potato style to suit every meal and mood. I love them fried, mashed and roasted. I adore a hash brown, and when I have the time, which is usually at weekends, I LOVE a jacket potato.
It fits very well into the way I completely amp up the slow living of a weekend. I have everything the proper way. Slowly brewed loose leaf tea, porridge simmered on the stove, rather than a packet shoved in the microwave (I can hardly ever bring myself to do this. It pales in comparison, I tell you). Everything is slow. Slow cooking, slow living, slow journaling. Weekends are where I re-nourish, restore and refuel. And for me, a slowly-baked jacket potato, given the time it needs in the oven to get fluffy and soft, is one of life’s small but great joys.
Right, so you understand how I feel about potatoes, yes? Good.
You also know by now that I can find a lesson in everything. Life feels like one big analogy to me, and when lessons are delivered in such an identifiable and relatable way, it helps them to land even more deeply. As is the case with so many things in life: the simpler, the better.
So here’s the thought I had about jacket potatoes one time, that had my eyes bugging out of my head, and comes back to me quite often:
“You wouldn’t eat a half-baked potato, so why are you letting yourself live a half-baked life?”
Woah. Ok, I know, I know it’s a massive leap from simple food to existential consideration, but hear me out.
I’m sure you know what it’s like to have a jacket potato that just doesn’t make the grade. The kind that’s a bit undercooked, and so doesn’t mash right, and is just a bit hard and plain unenjoyable.
You wouldn’t eat it, or at least enjoy it, and you certainly wouldn’t serve it to a guest, so I asked myself this: in life, then… why are you allowing areas of it to just exist and continue in a similarly lacklustre and unenjoyable way?
And while we’re on the subject, if we’re gonna make sure it’s baked properly, you know what we’re not gonna do? Go paltry and slapdash with the filling. We are going to need at least two of the following:
Lashings, and I mean lashings of butter.
A mountain of melty cheese.
The steamy goodness of chilli
The comfort and simplicity of the can’t-beat-perfect-combo that is baked beans and cheese.
Sidenote: I tried to think of the bigger lesson that could be taken from the phrase ‘mountain of melty cheese.’ And while I guess it’s something along the lines of ‘with baked potatoes, as in life: abundance, come at me,’ I largely just wanted to tell you about my favourite jacket potato toppings lol.
Now, if you don’t like potatoes, but made it this far through the letter, I fully congratulate you (while also wondering how on Earth we can be friends). But I will round off this letter with this:
Your life deserves to be the best meal that you can imagine. Served up with more of the gusto reserved for Bake Off, and less ‘it’ll do’s.’ Like the lyrics at the top say: ‘cause a half-lived life, never satisfies.’ It is safe to feel the fullness of your desires and your dissatisfactions.
We know the areas of our lives where things just don’t cut the mustard and just feel a bit blah, but are often convinced or convince ourselves that we need to be grateful for it. And I hear that, but I wonder if that’s where gratitude can get a bit misguided. The word means ‘warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness,’ yet we are often forcing ourselves to see the good in actions and areas that are less than kind. I mean, it’s optimistic, but not necessarily good for us.
While in the middle of a pandemic, it could be just about getting through the sludge of each day, I get it. I really do. For some, a time such as this is the ultimate catalyst for change. For no more half-baked potatoes.