Thursday, April 8, 2010

compounding interest

this post’s title has absolutely nothing to do with content. i just like the title.

(sidenote: i’ve always had a thing for a good title. for instance, one of my most influential lit profs in college was obsessed with the title “affairs of state” and all of the wonderful double-entendre-ness of it when discussing early modern english monarchies. thinking of that title still inspires me. and makes me giggle.)

this year has been tough. my family can’t seem to catch a break and it’s beginning to wear on me. that wearing is demonstrating itself through a general lack on contentment with everything. nothing is enough fun right now. nothing is beautiful enough right now. nothing is good and i am unsettled.

a few weeks ago i started thinking about zest. lemon zest, to be exact. (i was making a pie). while wrist deep in dough, it occurred to me that people are a lot like lemons (or limes, or oranges, or any other citrus fruit). we have thick skins that keep the bad things out (most of the time) and are juicy and interesting inside. but the real heart and soul of a person—the part that makes them who they truly are—is their zest. it adds flavor and complexity to their life. without it, they are dull, lacking that little something that makes them complete.

i’ve been zestless for awhile now.

the parts of me that make me feel whole have fallen away, leaving nothing but bitter pith.

it’s as if all the time and energy i’ve expended in the last few months dealing with hardship have only acted as a microplane, slowly grating away my flavor.

i decided then and there that i’m tired of being zestless. i want flavor. i want spice. i want to be the person i think i once was. so i’ve been trying to enjoy more things—to see the fun, beauty, and goodness. and i think it’s working. i’ve had more fun, despite the bad, in the past few weeks than i’ve had in quite awhile.

of course, like all good things in life, i will have to keep trying.

i don’t want to be zestless forever.

1 comment:

Katherine Zeeman said...

Zestlessness. Good word.

I want to say I believe I understand exactly what you mean.

The past year has been difficult for me for various reasons.

An emotional and angry end to a long destructive relationship.
Feeling left behind in the application race, and left to a job I really didn't want have had a hard time trying to enjoy. Grandfather's constant hospitalization. Gaining weight, losing self confidence, obsessing over the ex-factor.

I miss being a student, being on my way to MY goals and desires, NOT someone else's. I miss writing instead of grading, and writing about things that are interesting to me.

I feel like I've lost zest. Like you, I want to get it back.

I'm going to a PhD program, I have a fairly steady lover who is a friend, I'm writing again, losing weight, and am more and more ready for everyday, because I know the future holds something better.

So, let's go get our zest back. Maybe we can do it together sometime.