Time is in short supply right now. There are a lot of different hands pulling at the small shreds of time that I have available. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what the best use of my time would truly be. Sometimes, there isn’t the mental space to complement the time that is available.
Sometimes I just need to make cookies.
There’s just such a magic to throwing a bunch of things that aren’t edible on their own into a bowl and having it turn into moist chocolatey clouds of goodness. At the end of the day, a little magic can be just what I need.
There are a lot of other things I should be doing with my time, like figuring out how to minimize the disruption of sanitizing a million times a day, working on my reading groups, finishing my class overview and getting this blog done (not to even start in on the things I could be doing around the house), but the truth is that my brain is kind of done working and my body feels a little lost without it.
It isn’t just that I don’t want to work anymore, it’s that I feel like I’ve gone past the point where working is actually productive. I’m not going to revolutionize my teaching this evening, but I could make something yummy to help sustain me (and my family) through the rest of the week.
There’s just a certain wizardry in doing something that has a defined beginning, middle and end. When I make cookies, I take the ingredients out of the cupboard or fridge (this is my beginning), I mix them together in a bowl (the middle ) and I bake them in the oven, wafting smells of deliciousness throughout the house (the end). That’s it. After that it’s done.
I don’t need to wonder if my cookies are fulfilling the nutritional needs of my family. I don’t have to evaluate the effectiveness of their ingredients or try to maximize the amount of chocolaty-ness that they serve up in each bite. They are just complete. An actual tangible accomplishment.
In my profession, nothing ever feels that straight forward. I’m never just planning a lesson, I’m planning for a continuity of learning that will expand and weave its way throughout the year. My days are spent evaluating and reevaluating my choices, my use of time, my impact on my students and there is never really a point when I know I’ve done enough. There is never a tangible end.
With cookies there is a delectable simplicity. I can choose to add candied ginger and hemp seeds, I can choose to add cocoa powder and sunbutter, or I can simply choose to make good old fashion chocolate chip cookies and none of it will have dire consequences or a lasting impact that extends further than my taste buds.
Baking cookies isn’t just a distraction, it’s a reassurance that I can produce something real, that is of value. It is also a window to joy and creativity (I’m not really one to follow a recipe) that I otherwise might forget to open. It’s a moment to feel content in an experience that is complete in itself.
Beginning, middle and end is such a comforting sequence of events. It’s a sequence that I teach about a lot, but don’t live all that often. This is something that exists in stories, it plays out in music and is always there in a good meal, but in day-to-day life can be hard to find. There is comfort in beginning, middle and end.
There is comfort in cookies.
Tonight I opted for comfort. My cookies sit on the cooling rack in little rows of delicious accomplishment. It isn’t blissful perfection, but maybe it makes up a little for all of the moments in my day when I’m unsure if anything I’ve done is enough.
Self-care is hard to prioritize. There are so many things that should be done, that need to be done. Sometimes, even when we get to empty, we forget to include our own needs on our list of have tos.
We have to take care of ourselves. We have to have time to play, delight in small moments and feel successful. Making cookies tonight means that I have a better chance of being a better me tomorrow.
A better me that has cookies in their lunch!