Have you ever been doing something and thought ‘there has to be a simpler, easier way’? That happened to me the other day while I was making breakfast. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly won’t be the last.
I found this recipe for hash browns a while back and they are awesome – at least when I make them right. It involves grating a potato with the small-holed side of a grater and then squeezing out most of the liquid. After that you add spices and an egg, mix everything together and fry them up in some oil until they brown on both sides. Delicious!!
When I first started making them I had a whole process I would go through. After I mixed everything together I would put a piece of parchment paper on the cutting board and portion out the mixture just so and flatten them before I transferred each one to the preheated pan.
Then for a while I would shape them with my hands before I put them in the pan.
Then one day I was in a hurry so I just dropped them in the pan and flattened them with the back of a spoon. And that’s the way I still make them. They turn out just as well. They still taste great. They’re maybe not as pretty to look at, but I’m not running a five-star restaurant now am I?
Now I’m not saying to do things half-assed. No, we should all do our best, put in the effort it takes to get the results we want. But, at least for me, there was an underlying issue to overly complicating the recipe.
It was the way I felt when I put the parchment paper on the cutting board and made each hash brown perfect. And we all know how I feel about perfection…
It made me feel, oh I don’t know what to call it, puffed up maybe. Like I was some fancy chef on T.V. that everybody wanted to be like. Prideful. Conceited.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I do feel a certain amount of pride when I finish a project and it turns out as well as or better than expected, but this was different. I intentionally added steps to the process just so I could say, ‘Hey, look at me. Look at what I did. Isn’t it awesome?’ I wanted attention, but not in a good way.
Let me tell you pride is a very fleeting emotion and it takes more and more to get that feeling. Because there were days when those hash browns did not turn out well at all, usually because I wasn’t paying attention and overcooked them. So as high as I felt when I cooked them ‘perfectly’ I came crashing right back down again when I screwed them up.
So of course I wondered what else I do or have done just for the sake of attention. I wondered if there were other areas of my life that I was complicating unnecessarily just so I could say, ‘Hey, look at what I can do that no one else on this planet would possibly attempt because it’s just sooooo complicated and hard’.
Ha ha, I would like to say there isn’t anything, but I think I would be lying. Maybe not to you or anyone else, but to myself. And that is possibly worse. Because when I do something more than once I almost always figure out a simpler, easier way to do it. That’s life.
I guess what it boils down to, what is really the point of everything we do, isn’t so much in the what, but in the why. We can do all the ‘right’ things but if we’re doing them for all the ‘wrong’ reasons it negates the point. Even if we’re the only ones who know our true motivations because people can always tell on some level eventually…
Then what are we left with? An overly complicated life filled with tension and stress and a hunger for attention. No, thank you!!
Here’s to a simple, stress-free life. Who’s with me?