I used to eat dinner late at night all the time. I would get done with class, work, volunteering, the gym, or socializing and come home to start chopping. And stirring. And boiling. And browning. And then I would eat. And clean. My evening rituals never really started until at least eight. I would settle in and anticipate the productivity of my nine to two nightlife.
This evening, around 6:30, I thought to myself, “I can’t remember the last time I ate vegetables.” I went to the grocery and plucked out the greens and yellows that looked like they would provide much-needed sustenance. I felt as fresh as the newly plucked bean sprouts.
So now, when I look at my charred (definitely stick) pan and feel my either too-hard or too-soft vegetables in a “curry” goo, I wonder about this former me. Did she have culinary catastrophes? Would she have eaten crunchy potatoes and undercooked chicken because she was just too tired to care about taste and/or Salmonella? Had she ever forgotten about rice on the stove AND flatbread in the oven? Did she ever click the same incorrect link five times because her muscle memory was moving way faster than her logical brain was?
A few weeks ago I heard this Hidden Brain podcast about how people are bad at predicting their future selves. I don’t know if my former self would have anticipated my current level of exhaustion. Currently I work one job. Most of my life obligations are to myself. Sometimes I miss the buzz of rushing from one tightly packed scheduled event to another and then coming home to meal prep for my late-night lifestyle. But I also bet that my former self would be impressed with all the interactions, ideas, and tasks that get crammed into the daylight hours. I’m not sure. There’s still a lot to do, but after I eat this mess, the only promise of my night is my pillow.