I have a secret passion. It's something I have always wanted to do from the time I was a little girl. I mean from "before four-years-old" little. That passion is to cook. Not sure why I have always wanted to, but I still have memories of getting a pretend toy refrigerator (very small, not like the pretend kitchens kids have today) for Christmas when I was two and between two and four I had a small piece of furniture that looked like a small buffet table with two cabinet doors. I remember making a "fort" with it and pretending those were my kitchen cabinets underneath the blanket "roof" of my fort. Ironically, you'd think I would have tons of memories of watching my mother cook, but, that is not the case. Usually she chased me out of the kitchen so she could concentrate on what she was doing!
My desire to cook didn't end there, however. I remember playing outside when I was older with some friends and we were making "stone" soup! There was a child's book that talked about someone making stone soup and how they added different vegetables with the stones and before they knew it they had real soup. I had a pot of cold water and decided not to add the stones (I was old enough to know that stones were NOT food) but I did add some carrots and a potato. The thing I totally missed, however, was that the cold water and vegetables would be totally bland with no seasoning and no heat to cook anything and I was vastly disappointed to when it didn't work out.
Over the next few years of my growing up I tried to cook different things. I made chocolate chip cookies when I was 10 and forgot the baking soda, so they spread out into one big mess on the cookie sheet. When I was 12 I found out I could bake a lemon cake from scratch and it turned out good! When I was in high school, you still took Home Economics then and we always had some cooking in that. So, when I got married at a young age I figured I could probably learn to do anything, that recipes were just "suggestions" and I could do better on my own. Well, just like my cold vegetable soup, I was vastly disappointed.
When I was a young married wife, I learned to cook basic things out of necessity and poverty! Back then going out to eat still wasn't quite the "norm" yet for families and our budget usually didn't allow for it too much anyway. I learned easy dishes that would (hopefully) please most of the kids and my husband. During this time cooking wasn't so much as a passion, but a chore. Since I felt that I wasn't that great at it (as I continued to make big mistakes at times) and I couldn't afford to make big mistakes with our grocery money, I just wasn't excited about it anymore. Until later...
When the kids were almost all out of the house, I finally had a bit more time (and money) to experiment. I had gotten a subscription to a cooking magazine (Taste of Home) and decided I would try a new recipe once a month. That once a month became once a week eventually and as I found new things I could master, I made a larger list of meals I could pull from for a weekly menu before I shopped. I had always loved cooking shows (way back from the Galloping Gourmet and watching Julia Child on PBS) and I found a new channel called the FoodNetwork that my kids loved. I also found a classic older chef on PBS that really set a fire under my belly and that was Jacques Pepin. At first I had trouble understanding his French accent, but, then I just got sucked in to all the techniques he was teaching and I knew I had to try some of his recipes too. The more I accomplished something the more confidence I gained. I honestly was finally feeling like I could really cook. When one of my sons was home for a family dinner one time he said, "why didn't you cook like this when we were home?"...and I told I didn't have the time, the money or the patience then.
Now, I have a new passion for real estate. My cooking passion hasn't left me, but now that I have another passion and there is only so much time in the day, some of my cooking experiments have been few and far between. I have a huge repertoire of standards now, but, I miss the excitement of trying something new and feeling that sense of accomplishment--at least with cooking. Now, a lot of my challenges come with my new job and I am loving it just as much as all those years of desiring to be a good cook. It's crazy that you can become passionate about something completely different in such a sort period of time, but I have.
So, I guess I told you all that about myself to say this: you are never too old to accomplish your dreams or to find your passion in life. Maybe you have one or two passions that have never left you, but, you have never had the opportunity to pursue them. Take the steps to explore those things. I realize those of you with busy lives, small children and possibly a budget stretched to the max, might need to take things a bit slower...but don't give up. Don't be short sighted about what you can or can't do. A lot of things in our life are but for a season, so whatever struggles you are having now, they too will pass.
Trust me. Sometimes some really bland, cold stone soup can turn into the best gourmet meal you'll ever have!
Until Next Time!
Jen Lush, Associate Broker and Managing Broker's Mother