Immediately after posting about my potato salad creation, I felt inspired to go into my kitchen and create. I had limited ingredients but I came up with a Couscous Chickpea salad I'm pretty happy about. That will be in another post though. While making the salad, I had an epiphany. At 24 years old, I just figured out what I want to be when I grow up!
When I was 16, I decided I wanted to get a degree in Psychology and work in a psychiatric hospital with kids and adolescents. I came pretty close to that. I got the degree and exactly 4 months after graduation, I got a job as a Behavioral Youth Counselor in a group home for teenage boys with behavior problems. I recently moved over to the girls house instead, but still, same thing. And you know what I found out? It's not for me. Sad, but true. When I move to Memphis, I'll be doing office work (and I'll probably be much happier). Oh well. It was a learning experience. A very expensive learning experience since my degree doesn't do me much good now. But I digress.
So what is it that I want to do and how did I come to this realization? I'm getting there, don't worry.
As I was making the salad today, completely using creativity and inspiration as my guide instead of a recipe, I realized how incredibly happy I am when I create dishes. The time flies by so fast because I get lost in what I'm doing. I smile, laugh, sing, and dance in my kitchen (no lie, and today the windows were open so neighbors might think I'm crazy if they didn't already know). Even cooking partially pre-made or packaged things makes me happy because I'm in the kitchen, but using fresh ingredients and creating something new (especially without a recipe) is like heaven to me!
So I'm going to go to cooking school to become a chef. Then I'm going to buy/build a restaurant and become the chef of it. It will be all vegan and use only fresh ingredients and freshly prepared dishes. Oh wait. Reality check. Reason #1 this won't work: I can't afford to start my own restaurant and since I would not want to prepare non-vegan dishes, I wouldn't have a job unless I could start my own place. Reason #2: a restaurant like this would most likely fail in Memphis, TN. If I lived in a trendy city in California, sure! But Memphis? I'd never make money and I'd have to close in a month. If I had unlimited funds, I'd still open it and just let it not make money because Memphis needs this restaurant. They just don't know it.
It's not a total wash though. I've always had trouble naming my hobbies or interests. Very few things make me feel ridiculously happy and at peace. Now I have cooking. Cooking has not always been such a relaxing experience for me, but that's because I wasn't creating back then. This is my artistic outlet. Even if I can never afford that restaurant, I'll always have this for me and my happiness. And who knows? Maybe one day I'll cook for the right person at a dinner party and they'll decide to invest in a vegan restaurant. Until then, I'll just keep smiling, laughing, singing, and dancing in my kitchen.