The Plank: It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others. How did you take care of yourself in 2014? How will you take care of yourself in 2015?
We have this great story about my Great-Uncle Gordy that floats around the memory of our family. It gets retold the most when someone is marching to the the beat of their own drummer.
When family comes to visit Gordy at his house next to The Only Bar in Hillpoint, WI he almost always offers to make breakfast. I remember many of these breakfasts as a kid– the kitchen is cozied by waking guests coming downstairs and filling their mismatched mugs with coffee, the neighbors cows are slowly walking along the fence line in Gordy’s backyard, and Gordy is asking each guest exactly how they like their eggs.
Over medium. Over easy. Hard-boiled. Each and every guest gets a chance to place their order.
“That’s great!” Gordy says once all the orders are placed, “But here, we make ’em scrambled!”
In 2014, I made ’em scrambled. I thought harder about what really mattered and less on the “fluff.” At Gordy’s what people really want is eggs for breakfast. Given the choice, they might order them a certain way, but all the need is to be fed. And coffee’d.
I focused less on whether I was doing something the way other people did it, and more on whether or not doing it made me happy. I started hosting monthly dinners at our house, something I had been wanting to do for a long time. From the get-go I decided that it’s okay that the dishes didn’t match, or that we don’t have soup ladles or enough chairs, or that we don’t use cloth napkins, and there are no place cards and whimsy-filled centerpieces. Because, honestly, the dinners happen on a weeknight and I work and I don’t have/need whimsy centerpieces because I am just trying not to burn this goddamn chicken…
… and we don’t need all that. The ‘eggs’ of the monthly dinners is actually not about the dinner at all. It is about getting our friends and family together in a low-stress, casual environment to say, “We love you and we want to share our home and food and stories with you. Will you please share your stories with us and with our friends?” Name cards and cloth napkins? That’s like, poached eggs with hollandaise sauce. But here, we make ’em scrambled.