I can change my mind

I haven’t written another post on Provence. I sat down to write it, not because I wanted to write it, because I told you I would. But my heart was not in my fingers, they hovered above the keyboard; seagulls over dry land. And then I remembered something I often forget: I can change my mind.

I can change my mind.

It’s strange how we’re wired to not see that option. How years of conditioning teaches us to plough on, keep our word, see things through, finish every bit of food on the plate. Of course, there’s a fear that creates, and arches over, that absolutism. The fear that if we gave our children the freedom to change their mind, we would turn them into fickle creatures, quitters and drifters. We would teach them how to give up too easily. They could grow up wasting their time looking for utopia and other silliness, instead of setting up the tent called Real Life, which of course stands on a few ‘essential’ pegs – a career, a spouse, a child (ideally two), a house of one’s own, and money in the bank.

A departure from those essentials puts parents in a difficult position. Of having to present the anomalous lives of their adult children to the rest of the world. They fumble if one or more of the essential pegs are missing: if a daughter is successful but single, if a forty-five-year-old son lives in a rented apartment, if their children decide to travel the world on odd jobs instead of a steady one, if their healthy, fertile, married daughter decides not to have children. Or, god help them, if their child decides that they’re attracted to people of their own sex. The poor parents’ post-retirement plan is sorted – to spend their days explaining these inconsistencies to friends and neighbours the best they can. And that, is the fear. That these drifters could be products of a freedom, which gave them the license to change their mind.

Why then do I always tell Chotto-ma that her mind is hers to change?

Because, you see, the other side of the coin is far scarier to me. That she might spend endless days doing something her heart is not into. That she might not listen to the voice that comes from her belly. That she would be too proud or worried or scared to say ‘I was wrong, and I’d like to change my mind.’ I’ve seen people waste years studying for the wrong degree and then working in the wrong job, because changing their mind would seem like giving up. I’ve seen people who knew a year into their marriage that they’d made the wrong choice, but stayed on for another decade, because once you’ve told your family you’ve found the love of your life, you don’t change your mind.

Now, what if you drifted for a while? A physical drifting can actually tether you in wonderful ways. And what if you didn’t take the pegs and put up that tent? What if you walked off the road and explored and got a little lost and found your way again? Feeling settled inside has nothing to do with being settled on the outside, of that I’m sure. Finding that still point in yourself – where you know you’re in the right place, with the right people, in the right skin – has little to do with being still on the outside, having a permanent residence and a planned life. The older I get, the less time I spend doing things that don’t feel right. Time feels precious – something to be reserved for people who matter, doing things that add to my day. I change my mind as soon as my belly asks me to, for rarely has that voice in my gut led me astray.

When I start writing a blog post, I never know where I’m going to go. The only way I seem to be able to write is by drifting. Drifting is the way I’ve found most good things; or the way they’ve found me.

This post was supposed to be a travel guide around Provence, and I couldn’t have strayed farther away on the map. I also had no plans of sharing a recipe today, but I changed my mind.

Peach, Mozzarella & Black-Eyed Bean Salad

I wrote the post over this salad lunch. And the salad was very good, so I made another plate just to take pictures and share it with you. It tastes like summer.

Ingredients

2 peaches, sweet and ripe
100 gms fresh mozzarella
1/2 cup black-eyed beans, soaked overnight
Fresh basil
1tsp whole black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
Handful of cashew nuts, roasted in a pan till lightly browned (or almonds if you prefer)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

First, boil the beans with salt till soft. Keep aside to cool. (I usually have some boiled and stored in the fridge.)
The rest is all about assembly:

Slice the peach and lay it out on a plate. Tear chunks of mozzarella and dot them around. Next goes the basil. Sprinkle this layer with salt (optional) and the coarse pepper. Scatter in the beans. Top everything with the cashew nuts. Drizzle with olive oil. And voila!

20 thoughts on “I can change my mind

  1. This is so close to my heart!

    All I wish is that my daughter be happy with the choices she makes…but there is the fear that she may keep drifting from port to port with no place, no landscape really holding her heart…

    Is it better to just let her be, make her own choices, or guide her with a firm hand…I cannot say my choices have been ideal…in fact they have been far from so, but I am stronger than her, and feel I have made the best of the lemons I was handed…I wish her an eternal supply of lemonade, not sour lemon juice to curb her joy!

  2. My belly asked for an extra large slice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing on waking up this morning. Not always wise πŸ™‚

  3. Yes, yes and yes. That makes me want to give you a big hug. You've done so well, AD! Nurturing a child into happy, confident adult is more than many can say. And even as she drifts from port to port, she won't drift from you, that's for certain.
    It's so difficult to let them make their mistakes, isn't it? Even though you know that mistakes must be made, and that it's their's to make and learn from.

  4. Pia, this post spoke so much to me. It resonates so many of the many, many things that I have been thinking about, lately and reading this post was a reaffirmation-of-sorts. Thank you.

  5. We have to wait for wisdom, don't we? But there comes a time when you take a step back, survey things and see what really matters.
    Thanks for stopping by, Anita – I've missed your voice xx

  6. I'm glad, Roxana. It was close to my heart, and came out in a rush. I always find myself reconfiguring so much of what we grew up knowing to be important.

  7. So, let me be honest. I kept waiting for your post on Provence, for the magical journey of place and food, you do so much justice to. And yes, I have never thought of it so starkly. I can change my mind. Thank you for putting it so simply.

    I have twin boys and I can't hope for more for them, than to define the pegs in their tents.

  8. It's lovely to hear from you after so long, Fiona.
    Twin boys πŸ™‚ You obviously have your hands full! I have no doubt they'll surprise you, make you proud, turn things around in the most unexpected, beautiful ways.
    Thanks for adjusting to my change-of-mind so sweetly. And do come back when you can x

  9. This post really resonated with me. I've often wondered why there's such a negative perception of “changing your mind” in society, when sometimes it's exactly what needs to be done after understanding a situation or yourself better.

  10. “…sometimes it's exactly what needs to be done after understanding a situation or yourself better.” I couldn't agree with you more, Sara. Each of us are so many different people in our lifetime. I'm certainly not the person I was 10 years ago, maybe not 10 months ago. How can my mind not change?

  11. Because, you see, the other side of the coin is far scarier to me. That she might spend endless days doing something her heart is not into. That she might not listen to the voice that comes from her belly. That she would be too proud or worried or scared to say 'I was wrong, and I'd like to change my mind.' I've seen people waste years studying for the wrong degree and then working in the wrong job, because changing their mind would seem like giving up. – that is something that scares me, a whole lot. That is why I change my mind, too, often. I am a drifter like you, a rambler, a writer of unplanned blog posts, a traveller without an itinerary. I sometimes think I am the black sheep of my family, but then, I think I am wasting time the right way, changing my mind because it feels like it is time to do so. Over the years, I have stopped caring about things and people who do not matter, and have started doing more and more things that add life to my days.

    Beautiful post, Pia. Could completely relate to it. I wish I had been told this as a child. Chotto-Ma is darn lucky to have you as a mother. I hope I parent Bubboo the same way! πŸ™‚

  12. Thank you so much; and I'm so glad you connected with this one. Keep drifting and rambling and changing your mind if that's what your mind wants you to do – I have a feeling it'll turn out well. Black sheep often end up having the best lives πŸ™‚

  13. Hello Pia,
    I came across your blog one day, and loved your writing style! I drop by often to read your posts and have also tried some of your recipes. This post of yours is one of my favorites, as I keep telling myself that nothing is set in stone and its ok to have a change of mind. I even shared some of your posts with my sisters πŸ™‚
    I recently started writing and would love to hear your comments πŸ™‚
    https://lifeyouamazeme.wordpress.com/
    Thanks for all the lovely posts and easy to follow recipes!
    Anandita

    PS: I even love the name of your blog!

  14. Thank you, Anandita, I really appreciate your lovely note.
    Your blog is a wonderfully personal space, and I'm sure very special for those who know you well. Especially your sisters, whom you write so fondly about.
    All the best, and keep writing!

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