I am a bit late posting about the new year, but I like to believe that every day is a fresh start. So, I hope this lateness will be forgiven!
In reviewing this past year, it was defined by pivoting and shifting. Normal was no longer normal and life changed for all of us. The world gained a little insight into what living with a chronic illness or disability is like. It shifted to be a little more accessible, revealing the clear ableist overtones in society. It was chaotic and problematic – and still is.
However, many of us did experience growth. We became more comfortable with our own company. We remembered how much we love puzzles and reading and all the cozy stay-at-home activities that do not require getting properly dressed. Many learned new skills including the art of cooking. With the luxury of dining out not easily accessible or acceptable, eating at home became the new routine. Although ordering take out and supporting local businesses is still a happy occurrence, I definitely feel that my cooking capabilities have improved.
I began the year with a big shift – a diagnosis of celiac – which played a role in my relationship with food. I was so ill ( and unfortunately sometimes still am) that the simple task of eating, never mind cooking, was daunting. Add in the change to a gluten free diet, it was hard not to be overwhelmed. However, with some encouragement I have begun to heal this relationship with food. And a great deal of that has to do with love.
Simply, I cook for the people I love. I feel like I am a contributing member of my household when I prepare dinner. Sometimes this is the only time I feel this way because of my current physical limitations. This is my way, at least in my eyes, to participate fully as “an adult”. I love being able to present my family, friends and my partner with something substantial. Something they can see and directly benefit from. In the languages of love, this act of service is the best way I can express it. The time and effort I put into making something usually helps to ease their day. It fuels their bodies and (hopefully) treats their tastebuds.
Granted, cooking benefits me too. It allows me to eat what I choose, explore the world from my own home and try to sneak more vegetables into my parents’ diet. It brings me a little bit of joy, which frankly we could all use more of in our lives.
This is how I am going to try to frame this past year. As a time where I was able to rediscover some joy. We can all agreed that terrible things happened, but I am still going to hope that 2020 was a year of positive discovery for all.
My next post will be a recipe – I promise!