The 54th Deadline: Ingredients

“More often than not, the necessary ingredients are right in front of you.”

The last time I talked about seeking a recipe for life itself, I started to realize how many resources I truly had to my name.

I have a job to call my own, which means I have money coming in to take care of things. And with this money, independence has become possible. I have gradually become a lot more self-reliant in the past few years, which is a huge difference versus being a sponge at home when I was living unemployed with my parents and whatnot.

But most importantly of all, I still have the option to pursue the next stage in life. That particularly elusive stage that I have been desiring for so long now. I dream about it. I ponder about what I need to do and what I have done wrong so far.

In more ways than one, it consumes me. It eats away at me and fills me up with a ton of guilt that I have not figured it all out yet. It has become a daily challenge of fighting off the sense of “shame” or whatever you want to call it, but its influence definitely gets to me.

I just find myself cycling over and over again, as if something is causing me to loop.

I make some sort of progress. I move two steps forward, and then I get yanked right back like life itself is toying with me. As a result, I can’t help but feel stuck. I hate dragging my heels for so long when I should have already been on my way toward where I need to be.

This much is true. It is evident in how I keep going back to the same checkpoint I have already been to over and over again, as if everything just repeats and replays itself to torture me.

I had a premonition of sorts tonight. I was literally about to sit down to play video games for a few hours before I opted to write this blog post out instead. I just came to realize that I have had more than enough time to add toward what I have already started long ago.

I could either just play some games or blog. I am glad I am opting for the latter. Instead of just killing time when I feel lazy or unmotivated, I should be utilizing it. I should force myself if I really need to…

The building blocks are there. The ingredients have been laid right in front of me.

I just have not been very good about putting it all together.

An egg is just an egg, right? Well, the same egg can become a tasty and scrumptious scrambled egg when you work your magic with it.

Lots of things don’t become anything until something happens to it.

With this same logic, I can’t be anything unless I act as my own catalyst toward literally transforming myself into something much more…

It is just the nature of cooking, in general, to be 100 percent honest.

In many ways, I am thankful I have picked up cooking over the years. On one hand, working at restaurants as a “college grad” humbled me in all kinds of ways. I am still a bit embarrassed to reveal to others that I graduated college, let alone did the whole four-year stint.

Conversely, the act of cooking has taught me a lot about life. The sense of progression stems from trial and error. Most people don’t get it right away.

I was once someone who once forgot to put oil in his pan before trying to cook meat. The first steak I tried to cook burned horribly because it just stuck to the pan and ended up completely black on one side. 1332145284169

Could I have just given up at that very moment? Could I have just stopped the culinary side-journey at that point?

By all means, I could have. I could have stopped trying to learn.

I could have just thrown in the white towel and just not think twice about cooking.

But I am glad I didn’t.

As if it was a message from the universe itself, cooking was clearly in the cards for me. I am no master chef at the moment, I don’t even consider myself that good by any means due to lots of random weaknesses and yet I keep trying because it is legitimately interesting and fun for me.

I have certainly come a long way from the guy who nervously held a cleaver a few inches from his hands to cut a carrot. With enough persistence and willpower, you can truly surprise yourself.

Below is a picture of a fried rice dish I cooked for myself for lunch at the restaurant the other day.


Not to toot my own horn, but this came out great. It was made extra delicious just knowing that I was the one who did it with my own culinary prowess.

I once was unable to hold a wok up with my opposite hand (like you are supposed to do) because I was just some geeky nerd who had weak arms. And thanks to cooking, I am much, much stronger now. You have to be decently strong to work in a real kitchen, anyway. 🙂

But yeah, before I get too sidetracked, I need to apply the same method I have applied toward cooking over the years when it comes to life.

I have my ingredients before me.

I have the (necessary) time if I just actually used it wisely. I need to make more of my minutes count. Instead of just watching random shows, I can be productive. I can spend a lot of that time working on side stuff to help me move on to the next stage.

Obviously, I have to come to a compromise with myself. All work and no play is unhealthy. I am a gamer at heart, so I have to set aside time to do gaming when it is OK for my own sake. I need to remain mentally stimulated. It is where the creativity stems from for me as an individual.

Working a steady job means I can actually afford things. If I tried to budget more, I can store away some funds for the future. Granted, I don’t want to work in a restaurant for the next few years if I can help it…

Down the road, I want to own my own restaurant, but right now it is something that satisfies my culinary ambitions while giving me employment to pass the time each week. Just sometimes, especially lately, I wonder if God has a different plan for me. I haven’t been feeling the best in terms of health, and I wonder if I am just putting a strain on my body that will force me to make a tough decision around the corner.

Regardless, for now anyway, I will keep trying to get better as cook until something says otherwise. Cooking has saved my life once before, and it always will be important to me because of that particular (and very positive) turning point.540_293_resize_20130801_d70082ce973a7d79a49a34cf2957a61f_jpg

Speaking of health, I really should start taking better care of myself. I feel like I am poisoning my body with too much junk food.

In fact, I know I eat too much fast food because I can’t cook at home without a proper stove and setup for anything exciting. Instead, I have eaten A LOT of microwaved products, and I hate resorting to it…

Alas, one step at a time.

It is natural to be a victim of your own circumstances, so you have to make the best with what you got until the opportunities present themselves.

Just like it took me a good amount of time to start getting the hang of cooking, I have to be a lot more diligent with life as a whole.

I have done a few smalls step toward being more responsible. They aren’t that monumental by all means, but every little gesture matters. From setting aside some cash to put toward savings to cutting out certain expenses I don’t really need, all of this literally adds up.

And I am not just talking about dollars and cents.

Years ago, I was upset because I was just an unemployed mess who became both sad and angry at the world for his own unemployment. Aside from lacking money, I just lacked a lot of dignity. I grew to despise myself because I was living so pathetically.

Each and every random thing I do to better myself, in the long run, will help me establish a better sense of said dignity. I want to be able to think highly of myself, as we all should. I want to say with confidence that I have my life together (legitimately), poised for accomplishing many wonderful and worthwhile achievements.

At the end of the day, I don’t want to be lost in the shuffle. I don’t want to live in a mediocre manner forever because of some bad bumps here and there. When everything is said and done, I want to look back at this journey and be truly proud.

I want to be proud that I made something out of nothing. When it seemed like the world wanted me to fail, I wanted to keep going to prove it wrong.

And this process always continues. I just want to start mixing all of the right ingredients together and see what results from it…

“Complete the process.” – Nhan Fiction



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