You’re so lost, you don’t even know what kind of eggs you like.
That’s right. With the priest, you wanted scrambled. With the Dead Head, it was fried. With the bug guy, it was poached. Now it’s like, “Oh, egg whites only. Thank you very much.”
That is called changing your mind.
No. That’s called not having a mind of your own.
~The Runaway Bride
Sometimes I try vastly diverse behaviors on for size. I don’t really change my persona, or whatever it might be that makes us fundamentally and innately Us. I just mix it up a little bit. Sometimes my friends describe these periods of time as temporary insanity. Or mad denial. Or inexplicable ridiculousness. Or by saying, “Oh, that’s just A, she does shit like that sometimes.” Sometimes I am just doing these kids of things to see if I still like them, or to determine if I really ever did.
Everyone says they know how they like their eggs. But not everyone really does. A lot of people like how the eggs on the plate next to them look. Or they like the idea of the eggs they read about in the latest foodies magazine. Or the eggs that their parents always made. Or the eggs that their ex preferred. To determine preference is not always so easy as one might think.
I decided not to eat meat for a period of time (eight years.) I gave up chocolate (one year, but I don’t really die for chocolate so that was not such a big deal.) I stopped eating chips (one year. Rather amazing if you know me.) I was sober (for nearly four years in support of #3. He was, however, still drinking. Strategy fail.) I lived in an ashram for a month. I did South Beach for four months. I ran three miles a day for two months. I did a fast for fifteen days (#2 was convinced it made me insane. My insane roommate at the time was convinced it was the way forward for weight loss. Both wrong.) I took up yoga. I joined things. I quit things. Some things stick and some don’t. I suppose it is like a really inefficient trial and error approach to life, but I just have not figured out a way to know what I like any other way.
Recently, I decided to have a Mellow March – no going out and no drinking and yoga daily and such. My friends, while supportive were very much ready for what they thought was a really unimpressive lifestyle choice to end. Fair enough. It was actually a really hard month and I found myself wondering if I had, in fact, selected the most effective coping mechanism. Tequila sounded far more appealing on more than one occasion. To celebrate the end of the month we went big. Really big.
Needless to explain in great detail, three pitchers of top shelf margaritas and shots of Patron made it an evening not to remember. For no other reason than it seems to have dissipated into the (alcoholic) ethers.
When I woke up the next morning, not feeling nearly as bad as one would have thought I should [and by ‘one’ I mean me], I sat and contemplated my circumstances. I was finally on vacation, but the remnants of a busy March were sitting on my coffee table – a good four inches of papers to grade. I did not feel a need to engage in self-flagellation or congratulation. I just felt like, “Huh. So, here I am.”
As I thought about the various extremes of the past month (I have never really worked out how that whole “moderation” thing works) I realized that often I actually like the idea of things more than I actually like them. On both sides of the spectrum. Maybe I am getting to a place in my life where I don’t need so much extraneous nonsense, but where I can find that same sort of satisfaction from somewhere else. Like from within.
I finally felt like I was starting to get what one of my yoga teachers had said so long ago: that the need for extremes, or the need for the highs, which we all know are only – and always – coupled with the lows, will always cause suffering. At the time I scoffed and thought, “What a bore he must be, all even-keeled and never excited about anything…” But I was wrong. Samrat and people like him who understand what I am talking about are not boring. They do have passion and joy as well as the accompanying negatives. But they are able to observe these emotions without being beholden to them. They have arrived at the place where things literally just are what they are.
Still, approaching understanding certainly does not mean you have ‘arrived’ at some new place. But every time I am able to more clearly identify the type of eggs I really like, the more relaxed I feel and the less I really need. And, of course, there are some eggs I am pretty sure I don’t like that I will inevitably order again.
But for the time being I am going to really start to focus on the kind of eggs that I really like and let the preferences and opinions of others fall onto their own plates.
One can only eat so much anyhow.