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Photographs by Meadow Linn

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Opening to Love


A while ago, I read in a magazine that a woman’s fertility drops dramatically at age 35, which sent a river of panic coursing throughout my body.

I turned 35 two weeks ago.

To celebrate my birthday, we planned a family trip to Monterey. We booked a room in a beautiful hotel overlooking the sea, made reservations at a nice restaurant, and planned a refreshing and rejuvenating day at the hotel’s spa.

During the worst of the abdominal pains
Just days before my birthday, I was overtaken by crippling abdominal pains, and we had to cancel our trip. Instead of walking on the beach, eating fresh fish tacos on the seawall, and kayaking in the bay, I spent my 35th birthday in bed, fasting.

This may have been an unfortunate coincidence; however, the timing is suspect…

For the past 12 months I’ve been in a dead-heat run, barely slowing enough to notice the changing seasons. As a result of the intensity of my schedule and a need for a fresh start, I decided about a year ago that I would take a hiatus from dating, giving myself time for my work and time to explore other facets of my life. Throughout this busy year, I’ve felt as though I’ve been standing on the precipice of my future. Not too far in the distance, I can see my life beginning to unfold.

In the summer, as the sun blazed and I forged full steam ahead in my professional life, I told myself that in the autumn when my catering season came to a close, I would open my heart to finding love. In the past, I’ve looked for love, but I don’t know that I’ve actually been ready to find it. Opening myself to the possibility of love is both exhilarating and terrifying. It’s easy to become comfortable with the way things are. Even when we dream of life being different, the thought of actually allowing for our dreams can be pretty scary.

My summer sunflowers now dried and golden
So…just as my life was slowing enough for me to notice the longer shadows and cooler nights, my life got put on hold and I pretty much slept through my 35th birthday.

Although I believe that viruses, bacteria, and other environmental factors cause illness, I also believe things happen for a reason. We can’t necessarily separate our physical selves from our emotional selves. I’ve always loved my birthday, and I’ve never had a thing about age or getting old. However, the idea that my fertility could drop as much as 10% each month after my 35th birthday has been a source of anxiety. Even though I know many women who’ve had children in their 40s, and I know deep down I can have the life of my dreams, I can’t say that my 35th birthday wasn’t mixed with both excitement and trepidation.

Opening myself to love can be scary. It’s easy to dream. It’s harder to let go and allow for whatever could happen. My life is really good right now. Sure, I want to get married and have children, but stepping out of the comfort of what is already familiar and good takes courage and a willingness for things to get shaken up for a while. Although I yearn for more, I’m used to my life (and it’s a good life). I have my own systems, routines, and ways of doing things. Welcoming a man and eventually children means being open, not only to falling in love, but also to the current trajectory of my life taking a turn. When I open my heart, I also open my life to the possibility of change.

By acknowledging my fear, I’m taking one step closer to finding love. It might not be easy, but I’m ready to try.

On the precipice of my future...
An English teacher at my high school said in a graduation address: “Our lives run and fly somewhere between a few certainties and the mysterious and improbable. One day you turn left instead of right and everything changes; your life makes great gravitational shifts at weird, improbable moments, and to be alive is wonderful...To be alive is to be torn and bruised, broken and bored, as well as gratified and delighted.”

Allowing myself to be vulnerable might scare me to pieces and I might end up torn and bruised, but also I might find gratification, delight, and ecstatic happiness.

What’s holding you back from realizing your dreams? In what ways can you open yourself up to the possibility of magic?


 

                        Marriage Proposal Chicken

In college while the other students were subsisting on pasta and Lucky Charms, I cooked elaborate meals. On one occasion, I invited some friends over for roast chicken and garlic-mashed potatoes. At the end of the meal, an attractive male friend leaned over and told me that if I ever wanted a man to propose, I should prepare him this chicken.

Roast chicken is one of the easiest dishes to make; yet, it can be quite elegant.
Who knows…maybe it will one day lead to a marriage proposal.
 

Serves 4-6

1 organic free-range chicken
1 lemon, cut in half (or an apple, quartered)
a few sprigs of rosemary
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Himalayan salt and fresh cracked pepper



Preheat oven to 350º F.

Put the chicken—breast side up—into a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Gently squeeze the lemon over the chicken and then put the squeezed lemon halves inside the chicken. Fill the remaining space with the rosemary sprigs. The lemon and rosemary will infuse the meat.

Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for approximately 1½ – 2 hours, until either the juices run clear when pierced with a knife or when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF on an instant read thermometer.

Let the meat rest at least 10 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!