“There is an innocence in admiration:
it occurs in one who has not yet realized that they might one day be admired” ~ Friedrich Nietzche
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Over the past few years, I’ve done my best to jump on board, figure it out, keep it in perspective, and make it feel like a comfortable place to be. But inevitably (if I'm not careful), in the wee hours of the morning, I’ll find myself hopelessly lost on the internet
I've always been a creature of the night, finding the hours when everyone else is asleep, and the house is quiet, the most peaceful and productive time of the day.
While usually, I know better, while usually, I use these hours wisely, while usually, I spend them writing, ending the day with my own thoughts, my own direction, my own path, my own prayers, sometimes I'll catch myself doing something else instead
I'll click to social media (just a few minutes to see pictures of my grandson) and quickly find myself taking in images of
Could it really be true?
Somehow they've discovered the secrets to living soulful lives filled with friends, family, adventures, and pets that never throw up on the carpet. They're living in amazing houses, and are full of wisdom, which they share in witty comments on everyone else's pictures and posts.
They make exotic superfood-filled smoothies for their husbands on hot summer days, and homemade gluten-free Play-Doh for their children (or grandchildren). They're the epitome of zen, have well-behaved teenagers, their skinny jeans always zip, and they handle all sorts of conflicts with impeccable
style and grace
“This is a curated version of their life. No one has it all. You know this”
I close my laptop
“But maybe it really IS true. Their lives are perfect. They're perfect.”
And slowly make my way to bed
What I've come to realize, is that if I absorb enough of it, no matter what I intellectually know to be true, I'll feel a shift in my spirit. Before long, I'll realize that I've started to believe the subtle lie that everyone has it all figured out but me
“I know this; truly I know this.”
(Why is it so hard to believe)
Step away from the screen
Maybe it's wisdom that comes with age, but lately, I've noticed in myself a deepening admiration for many of the people around me. I'm constantly surprised and amazed by stories of their lives, and the incredible things they've done
They haven't worried about the draws of the world, crafting a perfectly orchestrated picture, pithy response, or how many the cheers (and likes) they get from the crowd. Instead, they've quietly gone about building beautiful and authentic lives that are perfect for them.
She was born in India to a family of incredible privilege. There was never a question she'd have a comfortable life, with a high-paying job waiting for her (if she'd wanted to work), hired help to respond to every whim, and a carefully chosen upper-class husband
Instead, do you know what she decided to do? She packed two suitcases, boarded a plane, and came to the U.S. to go to college. At eighteen, she found herself all alone in a foreign country. A short, brown woman (as she refers to herself), with no friends or family to lean on
She went on to earn her Ph.D., become a pharmaceutical professor and wrote the textbooks students learn from today. In the meantime, she met and married her husband, with whom she raised a very accomplished daughter.
Forty + years have passed, and she's lived a quiet, prosperous, happy, and peaceful life.
“I didn't want comfortable. I didn't want servants. I wanted to be my own person. Find my own way.”
Last weekend at a dinner party I sat completely mesmerized as she talked. How many years had we been friends and this was the first time she'd shared the breadth of her back-story. Certainly, I was captivated by her words, but underneath I caught glimmers of
While she spoke, I could tell she had no regrets. She'd built a life that was perfect for her. Her hands flapped wildly as she spoke of it, a certain buoyancy filling in each word. Her smile traveled up into her eyes, and her entire face
You know what's extra cool about the story?
Because she followed the call of her heart, she set the example for her three younger sisters. All of whom followed her lead, each in their own way. One went on to become a provost at a major university here in the U.S., another started a family in Australia with the man she loves, and the third is a widely known performer in India.
And just for the smallest of seconds, I couldn't help but want to turn back time, pack a couple of suitcases of my own and start over somewhere else. Maybe this might have been the right path for me too.
But it wasn't; the story is hers. A gem of a gift she holds inside. I hope she has the level of admiration and respect for herself that I do for her
I love these stories from people who listened to their gut. Following the faintest of whispers from their inner voice, decisions that propelled them on an entirely different trajectory
I sat back and listened while she was answered everyone's questions. How she'd built a career, family, and wonderful circle of friends.
That the culture, the family, and the circumstances she was born into weren't her destiny. The capacity from which she was expected to serve the world and shine her particular light. She will be <fill-in-the-blank>. Yes, this is right
And instead, she said, No, this isn't right.
The whispers from your gut aren't about a profession, a career, or a life chosen for you by someone else. Instead, they're your character; they're who you are. They're what you treasure, what you practice, and the fruits you produce.
Last night as I sat on the sofa with a kitty snuggled in beside, curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked. Certainly, there were pictures of others, and they were still beautiful and fun.
But this time looking at them felt somehow different. That the perfect-for-them, or perfect, or wrong, or wrong-for-her, or perfect for him, or perfect-for-me, or wrong-for-all, didn't seem to matter much anymore
Instead, I thought of her and remembered the places from which I choose to draw on for inspiration
Nicely done my friend; so nicely done(!)
The next time you're in need of a salad, this is a recipe to have close to the top of your list
It's a bit of extra effort (not much), but the combination of both raw and roasted beets makes it special. The flavors of oranges, fresh parsley, and pine nuts bring elements of the unexpected, with tastes that feel fresh and alive.
Black lentils for texture, protein, and fiber.
~ Adapted from My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season by Sarah Britton
Beet Party Salad with Lentils + Pine Nuts
- ½ cup black lentils, soaked (overnight if possible)
- fine grain sea salt
- 6 mixed beets, ~ 2 pounds red, golden, white, Chioggia
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
- zest of 2 organic oranges
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- Prepare the Lentils
- Drain and rinse the lentils, put them in a saucepan, and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until tender but not mushy (~ 10 to 20 minutes) depending on the soaking time.
- When the lentils are almost cooked, add a ¾ teaspoon salt and continue to simmer until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water to halt the cooking.
- Put the lentils in a large bowl.
- Roast the Beets
- Wrap 4 beets in aluminum foil and put them on a baking sheet.
- Roast the beets until they are cooked through (~ 35 to 50 minutes) depending on their size.
- Remove them from the oven, let sit in their foil for about 15 minutes
- When they're cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil and slip the skins off.
- Chop the beets into bite-size pieces and add them to the lentils.
- Raw Beets
- Peel the remaining 2 beets.
- Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the beets into thin rounds; then slice the rounds crosswise to make matchsticks.
- Add the raw beets to the lentils and roasted beets.
- Make the Dressing
- Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl, and pour this dressing over the salad.
- Finish and Serve
- Add the orange zest, chopped parsley, and pine nuts, and season with salt and pepper.
This salad sounds amazing. I love beets so this is something I could really get into 🙂
Thanks Stephanie! It’s a good one
It’s funny because up until about a year ago or so, I hated beets. With a passion. Then all of the sudden my tastes changed and now I can’t get enough.
I love beets. I just hate to cook them because of how stained my hands get when peeling them. This salad recipe looks delicious.
I’m not very good at social media, I find the times I go on are times when most others are in bed and then it feels just a bit useless to be even trying really so I give it up for another day.
I too like the quiet time of the night to be able to get on the internet. It is easy to get lost, and caught up thinking everyone else’s life is more perfect than your own. If more people were real, maybe we could all feel a little better about ourselves, realizing that no one has a “perfect life”.
This seems very healthy and although I’m not sure the rest of the family would agree with me, I like all the ingredients, especially pine nuts, so I don’t think I could go wrong making this for lunch or dinner!
The longer I am on social media, the more I find myself trying to escape. I am not perfect, I am myself and that is good enough for me! I don’t need to compare myself to the “perfect” people I see in social media.
I’ve wanted to incorporate beets more in my diet. I rarely ever have them. However, this recipe makes me want to run to the store and make it.
I’m basically in need of a salad RIGHT NOW!!! And that one? Perfection.
I love the story of your friend. That sounds like my grandmother and I think daily about achieving that kind of life.
As for social media, I get sucked in sometimes. Since my kids are here and I don’t have grandkids, the best thing I can relate to with you looking at photos of your grandson is my nephew. I’m so smitten with him!
I have definitely gotten sucked into social media before. It does help to remind myself that everyone is just showing their best self.
“…their skinny jeans always zip” – Ohhh how I wish that was the case for me. I know I’m no longer a teen, but one can hope, right? Also, bravo on the pine nuts and beets – that is one winning combination! I can just imagine the flavors in my mouth now – but I should actually give it a go, right? Your recipes always look exquisite.
i love the power of social media, but I always take everything I see online with caution, Looks can be deceiving, and we all know it is easy to only show your good side online. I try to unplug some days and spend quality time with family, but I know I should be doing it more often.
Social media has changed our world. I enjoy it for keeping up with my friends and family but i have noticed that it means people do less and less in person. I just lost a good friend and I am sad that we didnt see him before his untimely death. It has helped me realize that we must make time for our people rather than just looking at them on social media.
I used to think that I didn’t know how to figure out how to live a good life and everyone else has. But, the more I live and the more people I meet, the more I realize that that isn’t the case. Everyone has their own problems, just like I do.
I enjoy social media, but I’m all about the real world. The world where we communicated by face and phone. I have learned to live a good life that suits me, but, I’m sure many people have issues and problems just like the next person . I must confess, I don’t like beets at all .lol
I love hearing how others have lived out their dreams. I often wonder where I’d be today had I stayed in college and delayed marriage a few years. However, I will not take it as a regret because I love my hubby and the children who came of it.
I’m also a night person and it’s really nice to gather up your ideas at this time. It can be to wrap up the day, prepare for tomorrow or think of new initiatives. By the way, the salad looks really mouthwatering and tasty.
Well i have to say your story was quite inspirational. i think we all notice that social media perfect life affect, and it’s hard to ignore. thanks for the perspective.
Now with regards to your recipe…i have never thought to mix the cooked and uncooked beets, what a slammin idea! thanks.
What an inspiring story! I love reading about women who follow their dream even if it would mean giving up a life of privilege. She is to be emulated by the youth. She is the perfect role model for grit, determination and following your dream.
It’s inspiring how a person can leave a life destined for them and find a new way. And the beet salad looks amazing. The pine nuts seem to add some necessary crunch. This sure looks like a must try recipe.
I totally understand where you’re coming from in that social media is just a reflection of the most perfect moments of each persons lives. I know I’m also guilty of scrolling past people who post their struggles. I find that social media is bad for me on both fronts. My heart is too empathetic to read the sad posts because I would sympathize and stay in bed crying all day for them. On the flip side I wonder what I’m doing wrong that I don’t have the most picture or 15-second video worthy life’
The salad has great color. I have seen lots of people that get jealous of people they see online, they don’t seem to realize that some people are just fake and don’t share.
I know that social media can be difficult to handle, if like you said you just pay attention to the glossy and perfection. But I have a lot of family that lives across the country so all of my cousins and our kids are able to stay in touch and when we see each other we know what is going on in each others lives. I think finding that balance with social media is key.
First of all, I love this salad. It’s so colorful and looks amazing. I love beets! I also love that time of the night, like right now when I am up alone with the quiet. It’s perfect for me. Which brings me to the rest of your post. What a joy it is to live without comparison – to realize that wherever you are can be perfect without regrets. Living in the moment.
Although many posts and photos on social media are staged, being simply is.
You know what, my husband doesn’t open his social media apps anymore because he doesn’t have anything to do with other people’s lives. Yeah, other people’s lives are so curated it’s too good to be true. Now back to the salad, I don’t like beets but maybe I’ll just add more oranges.
You know what, my husband doesn’t open his social media apps anymore because he doesn’t have anything to do with other people’s lives. Yeah, other people’s lives are so curated it’s too good to be true. Now back to the salad, I don’t like beets, maybe I’ll just add more oranges.
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I’m of the opinion that sometimes when everything and everybody’s life looks perfect, it’s far from it. It amazes me how people share such personal, candid information on the internet. I would love for example to add more personal posts to my Blog, but every time I think of doing it I get deterred from posting personal info!
Her story sounds fascinating. I love hearing someone tell their back story. It’s always amazing to see where people start.
I know that when you find the thing that drives you that you should follow that. And I believe that for the most part there are ways to monetize your passions. Although they aren’t always obvious on the outside. But you have to live what drives you or you will be burnt out. I have been burnt out more than a few times. Also, as always, it does look like an amazing salad and I am not even a big beet fan. I will have to try this out.