March 6, 2011

Lessons on Life From a Plastic Cone

I try, when possible, to relate things to other things. Life is not so much about isolated incidents as collected experiences, so this makes sense to me. I often see things and think of them in terms of coffee, or in a similar context. 

My oatmeal today, for instance, was better than it's been in ages, for no other reason than I did it right. Which is not to say that there is one specific right way, of course, but there is a certain attentiveness that helps. Simply, doing it right means doing it as best you can; it means paying attention; it means trying; mostly, it means caring. 

Were it not for my Melitta revelation - or perhaps it would be more accurate to call it my Melitta rediscovery - this oatmeal would likely have been the usual slop. It would have been palatable, maybe even something I would call good, but not satisfying. It would not have been as good as it was, if I had used quicker oats, a microwave, skipped the salt or hurried the cooking. 

Instead, I used thick, rolled oats, dosed the salt ambitiously, and set to a rolling boil, before dropping to low and letting it sit until congealed. The result was fantastic, even before I added the peanut butter, sweet in that grainy sort of way, hearty and dense too.

Valuing your time does not mean filling it with as much activity as will fit; it means using it well. If you have an hour in the morning, why not take that extra few minutes to enjoy your coffee, to prepare it right? It's all to easy to be seduced by ease, by lack of effort, to fall in to that lazy trap. If you have less time - what might even seem like not enough - then perhaps sacrifices in quality need to be made. But do schedule accordingly. 

That is the lesson to be learned from an unassuming little plastic cone: Effort and attentiveness are rewarded, and needn't be complicated.

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