Fast forward to the present day, a second pregnancy, and another nagging hankering for sweet, juicy watermelon. But this year the watermelons have been crap. Seriously, crap. They’re never ripe enough, too tough, not sweet enough, too mushy–you get the point. My approach to dealing with this has been, “Let’s just keep getting them every time we go to the grocery, and we’re bound to find a good one.” My husband’s approach has been, “They’re not good enough, so we’re not going to get it.” The debate has been heated enough that we’ve turned quite a few heads in the produce aisle, but the problem is bigger than getting thrown out of Whole Foods. The way we’ve searched for watermelon this summer is exactly how we each approach life.
Matt does all the cooking in our house, not because I don’t like to cook or am terribly awful at it (although the idea of cooking a meal after putting on a show for teenagers all day sometimes makes me want to cry), but because I always mess something up. The food usually turns out fine, but my timing is always off, or we are missing an ingredient so I do a spur of the moment substitute that doesn’t quite work, or one box says 350 degrees and the other says 450, so I just average the two and end up with half frozen, half burnt meals. I am very impulsive. Matt, on the other hand, is extremely calculating. He will study cookbooks or online recipes for several days before planning a meal. He will lay out all the ingredients on the counter (no matter how crazy it drives me that he makes such a mess while cooking) and scan it all before starting. If we don’t have the exact ingredient, he will stop midway through and run to the store.
Our difference in this area filters into almost every aspect of our day to day existence. Before purchasing an item, Matt will look up reviews until his eyes bleed and compare the prices of every possible place to buy it. I tend to buy a lot of stuff and take half of it back–I’m pretty sure the guy behind the customer service desk at Target rolls his eyes when he sees me coming. Matt wants the best of the best of everything (especially when the best of the best is on sale), and I just grab whatever I see first.
So our approaches to watermelon this summer hasn’t really surprised me. What has surprised me is the way it’s made me question so much about myself. Because, as luck would have it, we did find the best watermelon only a few weeks ago at the farmer’s market across the street from our house. Apparently the Amish know how to grow ’em, and at $6.00 a piece, it’s not a bad deal. The thing is though, (even though I will NEVER tell him this) I kind of regret eating all that crappy watermelon, and wish I had held out for the good stuff.
Because I’m impulsive, I do tend to spend quite a bit of time regretting. Not only do I regret my purchases, but I regret texts I send, words I say, worries I dwell on, and a whole mess of things that if I just took the time to wait, to be a bit more calculating, I might not regret so much. I’ve always thought that being impulsive was another way of saying spontaneous, and that it was all a part of my flaky charm. But now that I’m in my thirties, it’s a liability, and it negatively impacts my relationships with others and myself. If I thought about what I said before I say it, I might not say it. And if I don’t say it, I might not send the pitiful I’m sorry text after saying it. And I might not then worry about whether or not the person is annoyed that I sent the text. And…you get the point. So, in the end, others become frustrated with me and I become frustrated with myself. It’s a vicious cycle that always leaves me lying in a puddle of regret.
I’m learning that one of the best things about being in my thirties, is growing into myself. And that means letting go of some traits that I always thought were “just the way I am.” There is something to be said for accepting and being kind to ourselves, but if we’re not growing, what’s the point? When we moved into our current home, I set about preparing to paint the plain white walls. Having always been a lover of bright colors, I wanted to bring some color in the house, but part of me wanted to tone it down a bit from what I’d done in the past. Matt, who loves me inside and out, kept saying, “What happened to my Ashley who loves bright colors?” I listened, went against my gut, and bought a gallon of bright, grass-green paint for the dining room, and about ten rolls in, I realized that it was a disaster. It was truly awful. And although I am grateful that I have a husband who would tolerate living in a Pollock painting for my sake, I had to repaint it. That girl who loved bright colors has grown up, so now her dining room is a bright, although tasteful, gold color. And she’s stuck with a gallon of ridiculous green paint if you need any.
Tomorrow is Saturday, and we will make our trek across the street for the good stuff, but with each bite I’m going to remind myself that sometimes it’s best to wait for the best and to let go of the way we’re used to being. If you do, you’ll end up with a properly cooked meal, a bright, yet tasteful home, and, quite possibly, the best watermelon the Amish can grow.