Doing Stuff You Love


No TED talk today – not one I love or hate. Somewhere on my list of topics, I have the subject of Monoploy Shit. That’s similar to Monoploy money in that it resembles the real thing but isn’t intended to be. It’s the kind of crap you give your good friends when you’re just trying to get a rise out of them and mean well. I just got some Monopoly Shit from a friend responding to a picture of me of Facebook.

The picture was of me stuffing a Coke can into the bottom of a raw chicken as I propped it up next to another like it on my grill (sorry, vegetarians). I’ve got a meeting in town this week and have my boss and a couple co-workers in the area. My wife and I love to cook so we invited them over for dinner and drinks.  We’ll cook for us and our kids, we’ll do at-home-date nights, and we’ll entertain people at our house. It’s something we’ve done as long as we’ve known each other and we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. Cooking is just an activity we take satisfaction from.

If I think back, this probably dates to our senior year in college.  There were a couple times when we cooked dinner for my roommate and his girlfriend and had a blast. There have been countless holidays since then where we’ve taken over dinner (OK, it’s more her at that point). There have also been many times where I’ve decided to treat her to a night of pampering and made a very nice dinner while we’ve had drinks. And yes, I’m well beyond microwaving a can of soup. The last couple weekends I must have taken a dozen pictures of me smoking ribs or grilling peaches and posted them online. My friends have a running joke about how many calories our bike GPSes say we can eat after a hard ride so don’t worry about the implications.

Somehow, this has become a deeper breaking-of-bread thing to me/us. Sure, I love eating but often I love cooking even more. Sure, there are times when I walk out of my home office and am ambushed with whatever went on that day, but more often than not I’m ready to make a psychological break from work.  I think that it’s very important to take joy in some of the routine aspects of life.  If every task is just that, a task, then each moment will be a slog from one moment to the next. In the end though, we have nothing but time and what we fill it up with. I’m not saying that each moment should be a happy, bubbly slice of pie. That’s tougher than is realistic. Real people live life with challenges and the threat of the unknown. I’m a real person with real issues living with a family that does the same. My boss, who really is a good friend, said that he’s got three kids and a working wife so not to sweat things before he came over. That’s realistic, folks.

So when I got done with work today, my wife fed the kids while I put a rub she’d made on the chickens and I put them on the grill. Then my co-workers came over and we had a terrifically laid back time. This was the kind of evening we could pull off seamlessly because it’s something we’ve enjoyed doing over and over.

This entry is a “stop and smell the roses” message. Each day can be enough of a pain in itself. One of the things I take enjoyment in is cooking for others. It’s menial in some aspects. It’s work. It can also be really rewarding. Smell the roses. Let the cows eat them. Whatever. Just don’t take pain in each task that can possibly cause it

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PS – We weren’t drinking margaritas tonight, but the recipe for the drink shown above can be found here.  Stay thirsty, my friends.
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9 thoughts on “Doing Stuff You Love

  1. Nice post Eric, made me stop & think. (I guess that’s your point right??) Taking joy in some of life’s routines is a great lesson that’s too easy to forget. I also think that there’s satisfaction in serving — your friends, your family, each other. Extending yourself for someone else’s benefit. Finally, looking at the innovative use of the coke can, it’s clear that you’re nothing short of an artist!! Have a great week, and good luck on your presentation! Wish I could hang out in the ATL to see y’all this week.

  2. I really liked this post, Eric… I’ve never gotten the joy from cooking that you and Suzanne obviously do, and I wish that I did. But I love your message about trying to take joy from some routine aspects of life (although taking joy from folding my family’s laundry would be a bit challenging)… I guess that’s what helps to make life interesting!

    1. Thanks, Karen. I guess laundry would be a challenge. I try to put on a TED video or relaxing music when I do mine. The alternative, as I was told in a training class a couple weeks ago, is to “embrace the suck.”
      😉

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