in doing what you love

Cooking Up A Routine

This morning I made breakfast. It was the first time in a while that I’d been home on a weekend day and decided to do it. Earlier this year, I was renting a different place and had this really great kitchen. In fact, the only reason I picked the place was precisely for the kitchen. Anyway, I would make this elaborate meals for myself in the kitchen because it was too nice a kitchen to let sit idle. In my new place, the kitchen is fine but just feels like that old place. I’ve always been busier since I first showed up here, so when I am in town for a rare weekend, I’m far less inclined to cook.

I like cooking because it gets me out from in front of a screen. There’s a payoff in the form of eating well and it lets me experiment in ways that usually turn out okay or at least, you can learn from for the next time.

I’ve been experimenting the kitchen for years now and I recall sometimes when I’m constructing something about the days of my first apartment in college where I would try to fashion together things and fail somewhat miserably at it because I just didn’t know what I was doing. I had no idea that a decade later I’d consider kitchen prowess among my top ten attributes.

The thing about routine is finding the intersection of where your goals and time meet together to keep your aligned. It’s easy when other people are setting the agenda, because you can run around for ages like a chicken with your head cut off. But when you’re the one making the commitments and when there’s nothing truly binding you to whatever it is you need to do next, I find it’s routine that helps center me in ways that no alarm clock can do.

Without thinking much about it, I woke up this morning and chopped some potatoes and put them into a pan and make this rosemary potato dish that I like. It’s fast, it’s easy and it tastes good. But it’s really less about the meal and more about all of the stuff that went into the process of getting me there that brings me the real satisfaction. As if, there were a dozens of other choices I could’ve made — not just today, but weeks and months before — that led me to this place where I’m making this breakfast at this particular time for myself. Music playing in the background helps too.

I’ve spent a significant part of the past seven years living by myself. One of the things I find satisfying about being alone with your own thoughts is using that time to envision the world you want for yourself in the future. It’s a bit of fool’s errand — you have no idea what’ll happen to change the landscape of your decision-making — but I like thinking about how whatever I’m doing at the moment will be useful later on. Whether it’s cooking or an Excel spreadsheet that I built five years ago or acting on a conference idea that took seven years to bring to reality, I’m a big fan of seeing the process work itself out.

All of that starts with having a process to get you places you want to be and being consistent about that.