Things are busy around here. Final exams are around the corner and I feel like I need every spare second I can get my hands on to study. The days feel unrelentingly full, and I feel like I’ve got to keep my head down and my eyes on the prize or I’ll never make it through. The prize, of course, being passing my exams. There is SO much to learn and so little time!! Meanwhile I’m constantly trying to wrap my head around new concepts (cachexia vs anorexia?), perfect my physical exam skills for OSCE 1, and memorize every detail of every bacteria and every cell and system they affect…the list goes on and on. Not to mention the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning…and even just eating! I have no idea how those of you with kids do it. I am in awe. The past few weeks have just flown by—minutes have bled into hours, and hours into days, weeks, and months—and before I had time to blink, it seemed, time had passed and I found myself here wondering where it all went. In these mindless moments, it can feel like I’m just existing as my life flies quickly by.
Writing this post has pulled my head out of the books for a hot minute and, for that, I am grateful. It’s reminding me that my life is now. Keeping my head down with no consciousness about what I’m experiencing (just learning, learning, learning!) is no way to live. It is true that no matter how challenging things may seem, small moments of reprieve—or, dare I say, joy—are available to me if I can just stop for a moment and allow myself to experience them. It takes a little practice, but it can happen. Even in these busy times.
These moments of joy include things like walking in the brisk fall air, soaking in a hot bath at the end of a long day, sipping on spiced whiskey (preferably during said bath), and eating my lunch like it’s the only thing I have to do in that moment. Imagine that! Of course, I’ve had these experiences over the last few weeks, but whether I really experienced them is another question. I’ve been so busy doing that I kind of forgot about being. When I’m being, these moments are with me the whole time. Taking time to be present in my life (even if it’s just for a moment) is the difference between me waking up at the end of 3 weeks and wondering where those weeks went and me having intentionally and meaningfully walked through them. This is a much more civilized way to live. Don’t ya think?
When I choose to be more mindful in my day, I am profoundly reminded that I’m alive. When I’m present (and not just a passive actor), life feels pretty good. Small joys (heck, even big joys) are possible each day if we allow ourselves to experience our lives and not just exist in them, head down. Close your eyes and listen to your heart, take a moment to notice your breath—no matter what you’re doing. This is a moment, now.
So yes, the laundry still needs to be done. It’s ok. Can you pause to smell the fresh towels when you pull them out of the dryer? When you’re running errands, can you notice the how restorative the cold air feels on your cheeks? And, of course, you still need to eat. Don’t worry, in amongst all this, I’ve still got your back. This soup is perfect for the times when you feel like you can’t spare another second. Cut up the broccoli and roast with a couple of bits and bobs, blend, and heat as needed. Quick. But this time, can you sit down without any other distractions and really experience the taste of that first bite? Even if it’s just for one bite, the frenzy will be gone. One small moment of joy, in amongst it all.
Roasted Broccoli Soup (serves 4)
Slightly adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
// Ingredients //
1.5 lbs broccoli florets
1/2 – 1 lb potatoes (about 2-3 small)
1 head of garlic
4 oz cream cheese
4 cups vegetable broth
salt and pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve
Cut the top off off the head of garlic, leaving the skin in tact. Drizzle it with olive oil and wrap in tin foil. Put into a pre-heated oven at 400° for 30-35 minutes, or until soft.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into medium-sized florets and the potato into small 1-inch chunks. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and spread on a cookie sheet. About 15 minutes into cooking the garlic, add the tray to the oven. Roast until tender and slightly caramelized.
Put the cooked broccoli, potato, and about 5-6 cloves of the garlic in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients, except the lemon. Blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like to thin out the soup, add more stock. Heat it as needed and serve with a squeeze of lemon.
*Note: You’ll have some extra roasted garlic left over. Perfect! Add it to salads, potatoes, or dips. Or, my favourite, spread it on crackers or bread with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Delicious!