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On False Starts and Flops

Updated: Jun 18

Lately I feel like the queen of false starts. I seem to have ideas and pursue them but then have to go back to the drawing board a lot. Like, a lot lot. This seems like the only way to figure out how to go about pursuing my goals. But it can be a pretty brutal process. The problem is that this thing called life takes a lot of work and I don't like to do any of it halfway. My latest project that's taking longer than anticipated is the weekly bake, which has run into a number of scheduling problems. I plan to begin offering it, now, beginning next Saturday (in a week), or at least that's when the menu will be posted. Stay tuned for the menu and order info starting next week.

Another kink in the works comes with the weekly newsletter, the one that I wanted to start sending out a few weeks ago. It only made it out the first week, and it was a day later than I had planned. I skipped last week because of technical difficulties and this one in pursuit of a new email marketing service. I should have worked out which marketing site was the wisest to use before sending that first newsletter 🤦🏽‍♀️ I seem to jump the gun like that a lot. Those false starts should get worked out soon and I do think that I will have a weekly bake and newsletter soon.

I have also had a few flops of late. I just finished teaching an introductory anthropology course at a great university this past semester and I had a great experience as an educator. Alas, I have learned that a professor I am not. At least not a professor in terms of an adjunct who works with all the politics of being at a university. I had such an amazing experience teaching students and finding new ways to explain things, but honestly the politics of everything can be exhausting. I do hope to return to teach that food course I designed, Applied Anthropology of Food in the U.S., because that was exactly the experience I was hoping for. But the idea of being an adjunct who picks up classes between teaching my passion turned out to be a sort of flop. I'm just not up for it, and it doesn't align with my overall goal, so I need to find a different way.

I guess the point of this is to say that the effort is so, so important, and so overlooked. The trying that can feel like a waste so many times in life may really be the most important part. It's easy to get caught up in the social media perfection of how we share our lives, to see only the finish line and not the race. We have to find a way to talk about the race, the effort to climb the mountain, because that part; the training, the working, the refining - is when we do the most important growing; the changing, the learning, and the improving. I spend most of my time plodding - putting one foot in front of the other with a sort of faith in myself that sooner or later, this will lead to the end of the race, or the top of the mountain. And it does. When I think about 15, 10, or even 5 years ago, I know that I am a much different and better person today. Not only in terms of the knowledge that I have acquired, but in terms of health, strength, and overall well-being. Without false starts and flops, this would not be the case.

False starts and flops capture the big picture of how we learn. My younger two daughters are in swim lessons this week and next week. As I watch them in their lessons, sometimes getting it right the first try but mostly having to try again, I'm reminded that we all have false starts and flops as we navigate our way. Sometimes it takes understanding how not to do something in order to get to the part where we figure out how to do it. And giving ourselves the grace to learn, to find our own way, is an important part of that. While it is frustrating and can be disheartening to try and try again, I think it helps to remember that in the end, even with the worst of flops, we can learn and become better for it.

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