"I thought it strange how it had never occurred to me before that I was only purely happy until I was nine years old."- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about happiness and what it means to be happy. I think it's easy to associate happiness with attaining certain materialistic items or life goals. This is something I struggle with, especially lately. Although I generally consider myself a happy person, these last six months have been particularly taxing on me, and for no reason other than the fact that I over analyze every situation in my life. Which can get to be a bit draining.
I've been having thoughts like When I finish re-landscaping the front lawn, I'll be happy// When I get a Master's degree, I'll be happy// When I have a baby, I'll be happy// When I finish renovating the house, I'll be happy// When Dayv and I go on vacation, I'll be happy. And although accomplishments give me a sense of fulfillment and content, it is fleeting.
Last night, when I was getting ready for bed, I thought to myself What will make you happy? After thinking about it for a while, I realized that happiness is not something that is attained and kept forever. It is something that needs to be nurtured and continually worked on. This was an important realization for me, and one that gave me a sense of relief and content. I felt better, knowing that I am constantly working on my "happiness", even if it is fleeting. Because, when you think about it, isn't life just a series of fleeting moments? If that's true, then I'd rather spend my time working on making the little pieces of my life happy, rather than the daunting task of making my entire life existence happy. Because I just don't think that's possible.
Things that bring me happiness: my quiet morning routine// walking Mina// eating dinner with Dayv every night// family dinner nights with my parents and brother// musicals and concerts// hosting parties// spending time with my best friends// movie nights with Dayv// learning new skills// repainting and refinishing every aspect of my home//
Another thing that brings me happiness is walking into Trader Joes and seeing spaghetti squash front and center. And then making a simple, but flavorful and delicious meal with it. This dish is happiness.
Spaghetti Squash with Sauteed Lentils, Garlic, and Thyme
1 large spaghetti squash
1 c dried green lentils (or brown or beluga)
4 c water
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4-6 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
a healthy dose of umeboshi plum vinegar
Preheat oven to 400. Cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and poke several times with a sharp knife. Fill a casserole dish with a 1/2" of water. Place squash cut side down in dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife. Remove from heat, allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes, then use a fork to scoop out the squash tendrils.
While the squash is cooking, bring water to a boil in a medium pot. Add lentils, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain lentils.
Using the same pot over medium heat, saute garlic and thyme in olive oil until lightly golden. Add lentils, and continue to saute for about 3-5 minutes (or until everything is evenly mixed).
To plate: Place desired amount of spaghetti squash on a plate, add the lentil mixture, and top with a few shakes of umeboshi plum vinegar. Enjoy!
PS- Did you know that the amazing Cara from Fork and Beans has a Halloween E-Book for sale? Not only is it super creative (as usual), but all of the recipes are gluten-free and vegan! Go get yourself a copy here for only $7!