Expect the unexpected

If you had told me when I was younger that later in life I would find myself living in a small town just north of where I grew up, that I would be exceptionally fond of baking bread and writing about food, I might have screwed up my face in a doubtful grimace and told you flat out that you were wrong.

When sixteen I would have told you that I would be living in a modern steel building that scraped the sky of New York City, hair cropped and coiffed, and drinking something that reeked of sophistication.

When twenty I would have told you that I would be living in L.A., working in a recording studio producing some of the best music to ever hit CD.

When twenty-five I would have told you that I’d be living in Oxford, writing textbooks and teaching first-years contemporary political theory in a way that made them enjoy it.

A year and a half ago I wouldn’t have known what to tell you. I felt pulled in so many directions and void of inspiration.

I’m hardwired to be a life architect. I find stability and comfort in planning for my future, despite knowing now that nothing ever goes according to plan; our life paths are often chosen by others by the way in which they influence our lives and inspire our minds, both directly and indirectly. Knowing someone doing something amazing can give you the confidence to want to do something amazing too.

A year and a half ago I was looking for such inspiration and confidence. I was looking for people doing amazing things.

I remember one day in particular. It was a frigid, cheerless February day. It was dark as I shuffled downtown, feeling aimless and ordinary. The local bookstore window gave off a kind warm glow, inviting me to linger and scan the books on display. My eyes fixed on a magazine I’d never seen before, a magazine that held so much promise that I went in and bought it, choking down the price tag that seemed lodged in my throat.

But the pages were full of people doing things they loved–things they thought were amazing. And that’s why I remember that day.

If you had told me then that a year and a half into the future a small piece of my story and my very own curried carrot tart would be featured in that magazine, I might have screwed up my face in a doubtful grimace and told you flat out that you were wrong.

But it happened.

And that’s pretty inspiring.

Who knows what will happen next?

10 comments on this post. Leave your own...

  1. Katie Starr says:

    I love this post! I can especially relate to the part where you say what your former self at various ages would have predicted for your future. It’s amazing to think back on your old wishes and plans and see just what ended up happening! Congratulations again on your article and recipe and all of the success you so most definitely deserve!

    • Calantha says:

      Thank you Katie!

      I think it’s kind of freeing to finally realize that whatever plans I make (or made) might not turn out, but might quite possibly turn into something better!

  2. Jodi says:

    I predict more wonderful things will happen next!

    I love this post and its celebration of how our vision changes and how life surprises us. And most of all I love how it celebrates that wonderful things that happen when we answer to the things that call us.

    Yours is such a beautiful spread in Where Women Cook ~ congratulations, Calantha!

  3. marknesop says:

    Merry Christmas, Calantha!!!

    • Calantha says:

      To you too, Mark. And a happy New Year as well (seeing it’s just around the corner!). You know, I still have your pancake recipe written out on my kitchen chalkboard and that green tomato tart you shared with me lingering in the back of my mind. One day! :)

  4. Wow. Your blog is beautiful. Congratulations on your story and on pursuing an inspired life. It’s affirming and hopeful for me to read about your process and words. Thank you!

    • Calantha says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I’ve just started reading your blog as well, and it too, is lovely. I also just happen to have a bag of chestnuts in my cupboard. I might have to roast them with some browned butter!

  5. Stephanie says:

    That’s wonderful! The article looks lovely.

    I also feel the need to plan my life out in days, weeks, and years which sometimes induces a bit of panic when I look at old plans that have me married or owning a house by now (nope annnnd nope!)

    • Calantha says:

      Hah hah Stephanie – I definitely feel a kinship with you every time I see you post a picture of your to-do list or your day planner. I am so much the same!