It has been a crazy week. Both my husband and son — neither of whom gets sick very easily — were out knocked out by a nasty bug that’s been going around the neighborhood.
I wasn’t feeling that great, either, but while my husband is self sufficient, our little guy prefers me over anyone else when he’s sick. Which is great and all, but it means that I’m one tired mama.
Did I mention that I injured my shoulder? So doing ordinary things like lifting a laundry basket or even a heavy purse (as are all my handbags) can be challenging.
But, we’re coming out of that fog now, and I decided to celebrate by making a Blackout Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. I don’t brag often about my cooking, but this cake is out-of-this-world delicious. It’s even better than usual, because instead of using regular unsweetened chocolate squares, I used this delicious organic chocolate that my mother got for a steal (because it was getting near the end of the expiration date).
So, I was just going to post a couple photos of this cake and call it good. But it got me thinking about that phrase, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
The longest job I ever held was at a newspaper. I started off as a freelancer when I was just out of graduate school. I was writing for them so much that I was hired not long afterwards.
When I left, it was bittersweet, because many of my friends were still there, as well as some eccentric people who made work interesting (in both good and bad ways). Almost all of them have since left for other opportunities and the paper is worse for their departure.
On my last day of work, my colleagues wished me good luck.
But something strange happened. A handful of people I didn’t know that well started giving me advice I hadn’t asked for. One man sat down at my desk and told me that I was making a mistake. Another said I’d struggle to make ends meet.
And one woman — the wife of a muckety muck who had previously said exactly zero words to me — cornered me in the ladies’ room (!!!) and said, “I hear you’re leaving.”
Thinking she was going to wish me well, I said, “Yes, I am!”
That’s not what she said, though. She said, “You’re going to have a really hard time, you know. It’s a tough market right there and there are no jobs. I think you’ll be sorry.”
And then she laughed.
I wanted to say, “Hello? Do you know me?” Instead, I just thanked her, washed my hands and went about my business. (By the way, she didn’t wash her hands. Is it wrong that I kind of still judge her for that?)
I started my journalism career as my own boss and loved it. I was quite successful at it, and I hope that it’s how I can end my career as well.
When I left the paper, the market was indeed tough. And I was taking a chance by leaving behind something that was a sure thing. But, I gained so much by taking that risk.
Without having left that job, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue my dream of writing for a news syndicate. I didn’t know then that my father was dying. But because I had moved into a position with flexible hours, I was able to be there for my father (and my mother).
My dad knew about my plans. He also knew that I was having a difficult time getting my idea for a celebrity travel column sold. When I was able to announce that I had been picked up by one of the most prestigious news syndicates, he gave me a huge smile and squeezed my hand. He was proud of me, he told me. I would have more time to enjoy life, he said.
He passed away not long after.
Every morning, I make my son’s breakfast, pack up his snack for school and reinforce the homework he did the previous evening. Many women — including my mother — didn’t/don’t have the kind of options that I have. I am busy and tired. But I live a very fulfilling and fortunate life.
No matter how rushed I am or what ailments I may have, I am having my cake and eating it too — in every sense of the expression. And it feels really, really good.
© 2014 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved
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