Last week, I was sick with a whomping head cold…twice. This week, I was exhausted – an unwelcome reminder of how we don’t bounce back as quickly after 40 as we did in our 20s.
Life/work/laundry will not wait for me to sleep sweetly until I’m “all better.” Like you, I had to strategize how to stay vertical whilst my sinuses and bones longed for sleep.
Fresh air. Coffee. Good company. Early bedtime. Yoga. Lots of water. Veggies. Fruit. And then, it hit me. I don’t typically eat enough red meat and my iron stores are not going to get what they need from peanut butter and chocolate.
Out from the back of the freezer, tucked behind the frozen cranberries and beneath dark chocolate chips was the answer to the slog: emergency bacon. Not quite red meat, but delicious.
You may have your emergency cash funds, emergency numbers, and emergency special occasion outfit. I have “emergency bacon.” When we are feeling blue or fried from life and we’ve called our emergency numbers, accessed our emergency cash funds, and wrestled into that special occasion outfit, there is only one thing left. Bacon.
Emergency bacon: I had stashed it to make mid-winter red beans and rice to share. Good hearty food for the horde of people I’d hoped to have over for games and food-for-the-soul. Nope.
At 10:30 the other night, I fired up the oven, tossed the chunky bacon onto the rack and waited for the fire alarms to sound. It was time to feed my soul.
Slightly cooled and fire alarms re-installed, I cut the bacon into chunks over rice and saturated in its own juices and a healthy dose of green salsa. Topped with garbanzo beans, this became the feel-good manna that made my skin less dry, lunch-making less desperate, and my heart a little less tuned.
It was sooo tasty.
I am an imperfect advocate for healthy fresh food. Fresh fruits and veggies can cost more in the purchasing, but save costs and pain in the long-term. To all my berries, kale, spinach, avocado, nuts, seeds, and plain Greek yogurt, bacon is part of my arsenal towards good health. Mental health.
Have you ever gone all-out on something so even you were annoyed with your own obnoxiousness? Smokers who quit and cannot stop yapping loudly and passive-aggressively about how could all those people breathe fire and toxins and make their families smell like ash heaps? Or the sold out exercisers who seem to forget life is for living and not pumping iron and selfie-ing all day?
You and I both know what happens when we skip balance for radical silver-bullet changes. Relapse. The smoker starts sneaking puffs again, the exercise-buff sleeps in – too exhausted to make pancakes with the family, and the health food nut sneaks the Reeses at work (ahem…).
Emergency bacon keeps me grounded. I will not have a heart attack from one glorious week of baconafied goodness. Nor will one puff or peanutbutter cup kill the average person.
What does kill us is our rigidity and rules. Often we sneakily assign rules to others and expect folks to pony up and/or make us happy. Too often, these are rules we wrestle with and expect others to just “get.”
Bacon keeps me humble and human.
Sometimes “emergency bacon” looks more like blowing off a week of laundry and taking the hit to do twice as much laundry later. Or it looks like calling a friend to go for coffee instead of tackling every item on the impossible to do list I drew for myself. Knowing my penchant for bacon and other less-than-stellar habits, keeps me from pontificating and bullying others to be more
So friends, in our lives of derring-do, let us stay humble and human. Let us be authentically imperfect – abandoning the facade and expectation we too often construct for ourselves and others.
Let’s be brave and a give ourselves and our pals a little more room to grow in time. We can cheer one another along and share our bacon.