I grew up with enough frivolities and options to know that I preferred the real Rice Krispies as opposed to the no-name “Crispy Rice Cereal” that we dug out of the Charity Box at church. I knew I preferred scallops sauteed in white wine and lemon butter, over birthday cake, and that my pink jelly shoes were way cooler than my grey ones. It’s interesting how a child adopts quickly the art of choosing favorites in life.
Grown-ups with no other ideas of how to connect with the miniature people, asking us constantly, “What’s your favorite color?” “What’s your favorite food?” “Who is your favorite brother?” The decisions we faced at such a young age are enough to chronically tie any tiny person’s intestines in knots. I still suffer debilitating stomach pains from the time I felt the need to sell my soul and ascribe to everything the color purple stood for, whilst throwing all other colors to the wind. Following the purple sponge-painted bedroom walls, came the purple sheets, purple pillows, purple ceiling, purple bathrobe, and purple hair.
It must be some sort of “survival of the fittest” test that kids put each other through as they choose favorites. If you don’t chose Gucci as your favorite name brand designer when you’re 5, it’s going to be a long hard road making friends. I always found myself standing friendlessly and alone by our comfortable cardboard box home saying, “Come back you guys, this is a Louis Vitton!” That’s when I decided in order to make friends, I would have to make hula hooping my favorite sport.
There were also the times when my favorites were only useful for the purpose of fitting in and making myself look like my favorite best friend’s identical twin, like in the cases of choosing favorite outfits, styles, or activities. Choosing favorites was also a tried-and-true way to get some healthy competition going, “Yes, of course we both have the same favorite guy in school…let’s see who HIS favorite is.”
The thing about choosing favorites is that you first one must have options. So having the opportunity to choose favorites alone is a thing to be thankful for! It is certainly not a problem for those who have ever only had one kind of everything, or one of nothing. In order to make a favorite that is not based on some whim, you must have tried all of the cheese, bacon, wide leg pant brands, and meditation techniques that you are exposed to. Choosing favorites is a real commitment, you must be dedicated to remaining open-minded, knowing that your favorites could change, though still being loyal to your true self. Personally, knit caps have been my favorite since I was an infant. What a stress all this choosing, deciding, subscribing, and ascribing has caused me!
Living here has taken away many of my “options” while simultaneously offering me a multitude of new options. I no longer get to do my “favorite” long walk around the woods at my house, I don’t get to swim in my “favorite” place, see my “favorite” views, eat my “favorite” foods, or wear my “favorite” clothes. Instead I am forced to make some temporary favorites, while I do not have access to my standard go-to’s. It’s like learning a whole new language.
At first all wine was the same, all the ski slopes were steep, and all of the boulangeries sold the same stuff. I blindly selected things at the stores that I thought would do the trick on any given day, not knowing what was good, except assuming of course that my expensive tastes would not lead me astray as I chose the most costly items everywhere I went. Now, I have my favorite places to grocery shop, I already chose my favorite toothpaste, my favorite hat supply, and favorite postcard distributor. Strangely enough, what I love and what consists of my favorites are not that much different than the favorites I had back at home. They are the French equivalents serving to help me maintain my Emily-ness. It’s a nice feeling, to know that you always sort sink into what have always been destined to love. I stay warm at night knowing that the goal remains the same, when the circumstances change. And what a comfort it is that I’ve always been an 80-year old at heart, (although most 80 year old’s I know can’t do drowning-in-quicksand pose with one leg behind their head as eruditely as I can) telling everyone to watch out for pickpockets and eat their veggies.
I suppose the best way to determine your favorites, (and to one day have a stockpile of them) is to stay open to what comes as it may, but always knowing that once you have found what is BEST for YOU, or come home to what has always BEEN best for you: no need to mess with a good thing. Did Einstein say that once?
Enjoying where you are, and balancing being in the moment where you are while allowing yourself to miss and stay connected to what you will one day march back to. For me, and I am sure for others, as there parents would agree, it’s been in there all along. I’ve always thrown meat products on the floor in attempts to avoid eating it, and I’ve always been a fanning the flames of warmth (demonstrated by my tendency to set fires in the woods and anywhere else I could put to use matches and sticks). I was always an entrepreneur from my “antique” railroad spike-selling booth to my dog-walking business, have always come out of the freezing cold ocean with purpleish-blue lips and more goosebumps than a horror flick, and I’ve always had my nose buried in a book, which I read while trying to balance in boat pose and talk on the phone. Sort of like this blog post….. which had a clear cut theme and then teetered here there and everywhere, I hope I managed to bring it back together in a clear and concise way as neat as my very sock drawer itself.
Still makes me wonder: Nature or Nuture? Free Will or None?
Always the same ends, and occasionally a slightly different means. Whatever that means…
— Emily —