The 54th Deadline: Guide

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“I definitely need a guide of some sort to lead me on the right path for life’s complex journey.” 

I am not an impulsive person. I do not rely on my instincts much, if at all. So by all means, I am someone who does better with structure. I prefer it when someone maps out x thing for me and that is the objective or destination that I need to get to. It is something quantifiable, identifiable and just something that aids me from wandering around too much.

Without structure, I am just a mess. I become a disorganized, walking disaster of inefficiency and lost thoughts. If there could be something negative to be said about me, it would be that I lack a lot of initial gumption to my name without a big push from another source.

It is not a matter of me not being able to do certain things per se. My capabilities as a person, with all due respect, vary in all kinds of degrees. Quite frankly, I know I do not push myself hard enough to realize my own potential.

After all, cooking was something that started as a random interest and gradually developed into something I found passion in, though having something important save my life proved to be a major motivator.

I was a scrub at cooking, and now I consider myself at least somewhat competent.

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When I really apply every technique or nugget of information I have learned about cooking into action…
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The 54th Deadline: Sustenance

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“You are what you eat as they say, so just try to eat a bit better here and there.”

I love food. As someone who works with food on a weekly basis, it’s only natural to expect me to like actually eating it. And I do like to indulge and try different kinds of foods out there when I can.

As an aspiring chef, a lot of the process of improving just involves experimenting, figuring out what works and what doesn’t and then constantly applying new techniques into the mix until something good results.

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However, as much as I love to eat, I know at some point I have to make a significant decision and think about my health as a whole. Because you see… I can only admit I was not blessed with an amazing metabolism. I cannot just eat whatever I want. Everything I do put into my body can and will adversely affect me.

But as much as I am aware of this, for especially the past year, I have not been eating well per se. Let’s just say there has been a lot of junk food, soda and other things that are fine in moderation. However, to eat and drink it just about every day like some college student away from home for the first time is quite unhealthy.

Granted, working at the restaurant actively somewhat evens it out. I am stronger than I have ever been before, but I would need to do some kind of consistent workout routine to get the cut, toned-body look.

And this is the crossroad I find myself at as a person who wants to be a chef and also loves to eat: where do I draw the line to balance eating with actually taking care of myself?

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I can continue with my bad habits and just ignore my health entirely. I can just eat whatever with not a single concern over what’s going into my mouth and how it all plays out for my well-being.

I could be like that, but I don’t want to for a variety of reasons.

I want to live a good, enjoyable and long-lasting life. I want to be on this planet for as long as I can, and it’s not going to happen if I keep hacking years off of my life with a subpar diet.

I realize I don’t have “cool” vices like smoking to my name, or other things such as excessive alcohol drinking. Still, too much soda does the body wrong regardless. Pick your poison, as they say.

I have been down the really unhealthy path before, where I could tell I was just gaining weight and just becoming really unappealing in a variety of ways.

I felt fat.

I lacked energy.

I craved food all of the time.

I was always out of breath with minimal exercise like walking up the stairs.

I disgusted myself, and feeling so disgusted prompted me to do something about it.

The list of legitimately alarming signs grew and grew as much as the number on the scale, so I made a decision to go on a diet that worked. I lost a lot of weight, felt better about myself and then another turning point in life forced me to undo a lot of what I had accomplished. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: Ingredients

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“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.

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The 54th Deadline: Recipe

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I wish life was more obvious about what steps I should take for the next phase in this ongoing process. I have a ways to go before I have the finished product that I want.

In many respects, I am someone who is seeking life’s recipes.

Just like how cooking saved my life years ago, it’s time I figured out the right kind of steps I need to take for the next phase. We follow recipes because we expect a certain result to happen if we carry out a particular sequence of steps to a T.

If it’s a winning formula, why not?

We need direction. We need guidance. We all need some form of a hint as to what we should get done and how we should go about it.

Otherwise, you never know what will happen. Surprises, sometimes anyway, can be devastating.

I know firsthand in more ways than one.

A lot of this blog’s existence does stem from a lot of highs and lows, or more like a constant accumulation of new ones to sort out. It took a lot of trial-and-error scenarios before I started to get back (somewhat) on track.

For me, I was a lost soul in so many regards. I had no inkling of where to go, what to do and I was on the verge of shutting down completely.

The process has been grueling. The personal challenges have tested my willpower and resolve. At the end of the day, I survive, but I never thrive because I just always feel like I am barely getting through it all.

It would be wonderful if I could get the end result that I truly desire: an attainment of what I would call “success” and all its glory. I want to be successful because I think we all should strive for our individual potential. Why underachieve? Why settle for less?

If there is something I hold dear to my heart, it’s the notion that hard work (eventually) pays off at some point. I will never ever change my mind about this.

I recall me thinking this even when I was just a kid in grade school. I still remember the other kids who clearly had no direction in life, no target to aim for in the long haul and I didn’t want to get sucked into that way of thinking. I did not want to adopt a crappy attitude, if you have to label it as something.

Yes, it’s a bad attitude to have by all means. People who don’t have the right mix of emotions toward a given thing are destined to not accomplish much, if anything at all.

Those other kids just showed up to class because they had to. They had no intention of doing well in school. It was just time to waste before they (hopefully) graduated at some point.

I literally thought I was going to be better than them easily at one point. Little did I know, being too prideful when I had yet to see the real world for myself proved quite humbling later on.

When you think you are going to be an instant, newcomer hit in the journalism world… only to be subjected to long-term unemployment and living in your parents’ basement for an extended period of time, you wake up.

And by wake up, it was like I finally saw what reality was for the first damn time in my life with eyes wide open.

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t the most determined kid in school, but at least I knew I had to get good grades. It was something I did right, for what it’s worth.

I just lacked a lot of maturity in many departments, and this ultimately would spell out disaster for me down the road.

Fast-forward to my current state of affairs.

I am still working as a cook. I have improved a lot. I have grown stronger.

Check out what I made for lunch yesterday. I posted it on Twitter because I was so proud of what I put together. Continue reading

The 54th Deadline: The Weight of the Matter

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The 54th Deadline: Life’s always going to give you another chance if you’re constantly persistent.
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Life certainly has been hard for me these past few weeks. It took a death of a coworker to force me to rethink everything.

Something I wanted to do because of my coworker’s death was attempt dieting again. Let’s just say I have been having second thoughts about it. But hear me out.

You see, in a nutshell, I have never been super fit before in my life. I have been at best marginally in OK shape when I participated in a few sports back in high school. Otherwise, I was either pretty skinny and then eventually on the pudgy side.

At the moment, I have put on a few pounds compared to what I was even half a year ago since moving into this town. Then again, I got kicked out from where I was living before and I spent a few months unemployed, starving and then eventually eating like crazy due to stress. It was no surprise it would affect my weight on the scale after a while.

But in regards to the diet, I attempted going back to a diet I tried successfully a long time ago. It really did work, as I lost 30 pounds after committing to it for 10 whole weeks. However, stupid stuff happened, which ended up sending me to the emergency room.
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Everyday NhanSense – Day 112

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Everyday NhanSense: Each day, I will blog about something that comes to mind. My goal is to practice writing about my hobbies, my interests, my opinions and so forth.

Day 112’s Topic: Food.
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It’s time for grocery shopping.

Not having a vehicle of my own makes it a tad inconvenient to get groceries when I really need them. Nonetheless, I manage by either taking the bus or manning up and just walking up the steep hill by foot, all while hauling a bunch of grocery bags in each hand. Or if I am lucky, I can hitch a ride with a friend.

Below is what my fridge has inside at the moment, which is not much.

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But it’s OK. It’s not like I can’t afford to buy more groceries.

Actually, below is a picture of an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) Card I had to get that is no longer in effect. I got scared a few months back because I was jobless, wasn’t sure how long it would take before I would end up back on my feet and so circumstances prompted me to get one.

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It’s actually very easy to get such a card if you are really poor like I was.

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Everyday NhanSense – Day 93

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Everyday NhanSense: Each day, I will blog about something that comes to mind. My goal is to practice writing about my hobbies, my interests, my opinions and so forth.

Day 93’s Topic: Perspective.
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It’s been a chill Sunday. I was hoping to explore the town for my day off, but Mother Nature had different plans.

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But it’s cool. It goes to show that I still need things like a car to travel practically in this weather, yet I am fine with lazy days just taking it easy while indoors.

Heck, from a perspective standpoint, things are just fine and dandy.

I have my health.

I have a job.

I have food to eat.

This, collectively, is a lot better than what it was a few months ago.

For instance, food is something we all take for granted. Meals are things you need to eat to keep fueling your body, but what happens when you have limited money for said food?

To give you an idea what I mean, this is what I bought for lunch today because I could. Continue reading