I Want To Matter

posted in: Cooking, Savory, Seattle-ing, Sweet | 39
Resolution: make more of these!

It occurs to me in this festive week of overindulgence and resolutions, that what people ultimately want is to matter. Every resolution can be traced back to that very verb, if you think about it.

This year I want to give back by volunteering my time. In other words, to matter to those less fortunate.

This year I want to exercise more. In other words, to matter to myself and my loved ones by improving my health so I can stick around longer.

This year I want to dust off the manuscript and finish the book. In other words, to matter to those who will read it.

This year I want to spend more time with my family. So I can matter to them.

This year I want to be nicer to people.

And so on and so forth, do you see where I’m going with this? Well I intend to sever the intermediary cloaking and get straight down to it, because as we all know, life is too fleeting not to cut straight to the marrow.

This year I want to matter.

I want to matter to myself and to my family, first and foremost. I’ve already started working on that part, and I found it meant a little less flirting with social media and her shiny, addictive charm. While I never measured my life in twitter followers, I did cascade down the slick slope of social media further than I should have. I placed inflated importance in how many times my blog posts got retweeted, which is clearly not all that important considering that ten years ago this very sentence would be utter gibberish to me, and probably still is to much of the world.

It’s true as a competitive writer in today’s market, social media is a valuable keystone of success, but the relationship should me more like that to fine wine. Worth indulging in the robust power, but not excessively or the experience is cheapened.

My three-year-old is becoming a miniature man. He rarely wants to be rocked in my arms like he did when he was wee, and if he did, I could hardly manage it anyway. Besides, the torch has been passed. Bentley Danger has officially christened my sourdough starter “baby” and insists on helping me “feed the baby” as many times a day as I’ll allow him. As a fairly certain member of the one-and-done club, if I fail to recognize these years as some of the most poignant of my life, I’ll have really done a disservice to the powers that brought me into existence on this planet, which is a privilege, not a right, and one that I intend to savor.

So I’m not going to worry so much about cranking out the opus of all cookbooks or inflating my CV with freelance writing gigs like a pair of flashy pumped up kicks. This goes back to mattering to myself. Yes, it’s important to me to write a book in my lifetime. But is the content really that which I’ve been having dalliances with literary agents about? One of my favorite food-driven books to come out of 2011 was IACP award-winning Fried Chicken and Champagne by Lisa Dupar. She is a highly-accomplished chef and writer who didn’t put out her first book until several decades into her career. And no one looked down on her for it. I’m asking myself, does the world really need another book filled with 500 recipes for pie or macaroni and cheese? The single-subject stuff that appears to be selling (and that I’ve been explicitly requested to write) just does not set my blood a brulee. Why can’t I wait until the book I want to write comes out of me? Short answer: I can.

This is not to say I won’t write in 2011, in fact I intent to write more. I just got to a point where I was doing it for someone besides myself. I padded my bra in high school. Now I’m incredibly happy with my perky little boobs and can’t believe I ever resorted to such hijinks. I intend to flash my ovoline tits with pride from here on out, and yes, that’s a metaphor for how I’m gonna write and who I’m gonna write for. Like me, for me.

Things to teach: goat ricotta and egg filled raviolone

I also want to matter to other people, but not in the way that I want them to think I’m some thorny diadem to be placed on the mantle and rubbed off with every new achievement. I want to matter in the sense that I can give back. So I’m going to give classes. I can’t presume to teach anyone anything about writing. That’s an exercise I feel comes from within and improves with repetition. But I’ve come to realize over the past few years of cooking with people of all skill levels in the kitchen that some things just aren’t second nature to people and they must be learned. I make pasta constantly, especially gooey, oozy variations on ravioli, as well as cheese, bread, and all sorts of wildly modernist things. Sous vide cooking is easy, but there is a little bit of a learning curve and some serious no-no’s. I can teach all of these things and I intend to. I also intend to learn, because when you teach, all the reasons behind why you do a particular technique a certain way become abundantly obvious.

In order to matter in the way I wish to, I need to be appreciative. I am one of the most fortunate people I know, which has been a curse in the past because I tend to wait for things to fall into my lap, knowing they will. Now I’m wondering how much further I might’ve gotten had I been born with a truffle pig’s passion for pursuit. So I hope to count my many blessings and give thanks for them when they come, rather than expecting them, or worse, feeling sorry for myself that I don’t have more. This is a ridiculous problem with the bourgeois- give just enough ribbon to make a bow and we’ll hang ourselves instead. But talent should not be lynched, it should be cultivated and fostered, and if I find myself in a position to do just that, I ought to, rather than over-analyze the details of why my plate’s not perfect.

So by the end of 2012, which, incidentally, is the year I’ve been most looking forward to for about ¾ of my life, I should matter. By being humble, working hard, caring about my family and friends, sharing what I can, and appreciating my lot. I’m sure I’ll stumble along the way, but I’ll use the comforting words of my favorite guru Yoda should I find myself faltering:

Try not, do or do not. There is no try.

What matters to you? How will you matter in 2012?

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39 Responses

  1. I read all your articles! Thanks for all the interesting information.

  2. Hello Linda,

    It’s been a while…
    Girl, you can write! I heard you can cook too. You give a new meaning to the “food for thought” thing.
    Reading your post reminded me what really matters in life. Thank you. I just changed my New Year’s resolution (had only one..I’m almost perfect) and decided I want to matter.

    P.S. Keep the lights on so we can see where we’re going (AND what we’re eating ;-). 2012? I hear you.

  3. Fantastic post! And very insightful words, it is ineeded far too easy to get caught up in all the brouhaha that doesn’t really matter all :) So cheers to appreciating what really matters.

  4. […] Lasagna from Cake Duchess I Want to Matter from Salty Seattle Going Quiet from Gluten-Free Girl Wellness Goals for 2012 from Daily Bites Blog New Year from […]

  5. Enlightening post.
    This really made me sit and think about how I want to matter in 2012, and it made me rethink the purpose of my resolutions.
    I can’t wait to learn more about pasta! I have never made it and will be attempting for the first time tomorrow.
    Have a wonderful day.

  6. ahhhhh Linda, my friend . . . this is the post i’ve been waiting for months to read . . . because you matter, i matter, we ALL matter . . . it’s why we’re here on earth . . . because we matter . . . because we have something to say . . . because we have purpose . . . you are incredibly talented and you’re smart . . . i am being very sincere when i say that i feel incredibly lucky to have met you this last year (((hugs)))

  7. WELL SAID! Beautiful words of inspiration! Thank you.

  8. I am truly happy (and lucky) that I discovered my passion for writing before such words like “traffic”, “stats”, “Seo”, “monetizing” became more important than “quality”, “pride” and “patience” and the words most often on bloggers lips. I am thrilled (and lucky) that I learned to network and socialize before the advent of internet. I have made great strides by keeping my head down, being honest to myself and my writing (and my goals), participating in and creating things out of passion rather than the need to promote myself and be seen. Those who really matter – those whose honesty and patience match their talent will never need to rush or spend every waking minute promoting themselves. If we matter, people will let us know. I am also inspired every day by Julia Child who didn’t get her start until she was 50. And then she had to work her ass off and be patience for years for it to “fall into her lap”. Great post.

  9. I really enjoyed reading this. I agree–the world does not need another recipe book. You have a unique voice and when you find your writing subject, you will know it! :)

    Happy New Year!

  10. I could not agree with you more on your thoughts. 2012 should be a great year for you and I love the idea of you teaching. What a perfect fit. BTW, I agree with Barb. Please, no broken bones this year, so teach in flats, okay?! Enjoy that little boy of yours and I hope I see you again soon! Gwen

  11. […] the “sexy” list hit the web, Linda wrote an even more fantastic post called “I Want To Matter” that was truly profound and inspired me to be better in 2012 – this woman is a […]

  12. Choudoufu

    Enjoyed your post. Now I’m wondering why 2012 is the year you’ve been most looking forward to for about ¾ of your life….

    Linda Reply:

    @Choudoufu, Ha, well, I’ve just been obsessed with 2012 because of the whole years of darkness to years of light thing. I feel we’re in for a great universal shift…

  13. I think Nick finished his resume. Can we take turns being Julia and Simca. I’m pretty sure we could open a cooking school that could be world-wide famous. Not that that MATTERS, but still……xoxoxo

  14. First of all… you ALREADY matter! BUT I like the idea of thinking about where you want to go/be and putting a plan together to get there! Happy New Year! I wish that all your dreams come true!

  15. Very thoughtful post and so true. I am also drooling over that raviolone. We can certainly get carried away with the intense social media aspect of this “world”. To matter is certainly a more REAL resolution. All the best for 2012!

  16. Be thankful for the ability to have such insight. It’s easy to get swept into the stream of social media and then start comparing, questioning and yes, sometimes changing to fit a mold. You are a mold maker my dear; I never see you trying to fit one made by another so I applaud you doing it YOUR WAY…that’s the way I’ve always loved anyhow.

    Have a very Happy New Year; here’s to not one broken bone in 2012. Deal?

  17. Hello Linda,

    I am printing this post out since I know I will need to re read it throughout the year. You’ve demonstrated a wisdom far beyond your years – bravo!!!
    I wish you great joy and happiness in 2012 and cannot wait to see what the coming year holds for you!!

  18. I get you 100%. This is a solid personal decision, one I am making at this same time. It takes nothing away from how you used to spend your time that both benefited you and many others.

    I am making my choice as a reshuffling of time to enjoy fewer of the same activities with people in real life, and with minimal pressure to share it in posts and tweets. I feel the stress moving along already.

    One thing you can count on with this choice is that times will be different now. But you can’t deem them good or bad until after, and I’m betting on better!


  19. John The V

    Matter? Silly woman…… Of course you matter! I am pleased to have met you this past year (both in the cybersphere and in your Kitchen), and look forward to classes.

    Hope you are physically and on the mend. Do take time for that.

  20. Amen sister. Here’s to getting down to what really matters. Love, Family and being of service. I’m so happy to hear your resolution. So much better than the paper-thin resolutions that are forgotten weeks after they’re made. Yours is one worth keeping! I’m with you. xoxoxo, Brooke

  21. Lovely writing.

  22. Linda, thank you, for sharing from your heart. What you wrote was genuine and is easy to relate to. We all want to matter. Priorities are important and giving back is appreciated in ways, I believe, we will never really know. Humble, a word that is for me, a work in progress. I appreciate you and how you write and your quirky unique sexy cooking style. You have taken inventory of yourself and how you fit in to this world and I look forward to how your life will be filled with blessings from the decisions that you are making to “Matter”.
    Happy New Year, Cathy <3

  23. I loved every part of this post and your pasta is divina:) I think you stated so many points that valid and thought provoking. After some things that happened to me this year, I have been thinking all year about what really matters. And these are some things I will focus more on in 2012: surrounding myself with positive people, taking good care of my health, enjoying life to the fullest. I wish you all the best in 2012 and can’t wait for your book the way you want it.xx

  24. Nice post to end a year of great things accomplished by yourself. To things that matter in 2012

  25. Great post, Linda. Love this.

  26. You matter Linda, to a whole lot of us. That said, I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings for you. Much love and all good things for 2012 xox

  27. I really and truly love this post, and can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for you Linda.

  28. You matter a whole hell of a lot to me. I hope that isn’t weird as I have never met you- don’t worry I don’t think about you with electric toothbrush in hand…I’ve said way too much.

    I am not a resolution kind of woman, because I think of myself as an immense jinx. Like yoda said, I do it and talk about it later. If I talk then try it goes all kinds of wrong. So my goal for 2012 is to do it. I have so many fears and distractions but fuck it, life is too short to be afraid. I loved this post and I am sorry about the novel comment. I wish you well always!

  29. Such a great post! So often we forget about just being US. We make resoultions of things we think will make us better without realizing that it’s us that needs to matter. LOVE!!

  30. Very thoughtful post, Linda. You matter to me. And inspire me. Consider that as “one, down.” xox – RJ

  31. Love it Linda! I share many of your goals for 2012 and found one that may not quite as squarely fit into your theorem: I need to ditch my Jesus complex. I suffer from what many other women suffer: the inflated idea that I can save people if I support them enough, if I love them enough, if I give them enough. This year, I will support more and Jesus less. XOXO

  32. Very meaningful post…the underlying sentiment ‘to matter’ resonates.

    Good luck!

  33. Inspiring and as always, very well written.

    Being priveleged enough to live within class driving distance of Seattle, I am looking forward to hearing more about your upcoming classes. I am sure I could learn a thing or two from you.

  34. Well put! I love this. :)

  35. I love this. And you do matter.

  36. What a lovely post. Thoughtfulness matters and you’ve really demonstrated that here.

  37. I love you and I am making the same resolution this year. I have found that all of “this” means very little. Happy New Years Boo Boo.

  38. Soemday I will write about my late husband adn hsi definition of “matter”.

    Right now, I think, that you have the resolve to make yourself matter in the world.

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