Yesterday I took a colleague visiting my office out for an impromptu lunch at a bistro close by.
I first offered to share my mammoth salad waiting in the fridge: mesclun with carrot and radish and snow peas and beet and grape tomatoes and brussels sprouts and six giant shrimp (pineapple curry salad dressing OR roasted red pepper OR lemon poppy seed all on offer . . . ). There was plenty to share. Plus a fruit medley with mango and blackberries and raspberries and blueberries and kiwi and pineapple and orange. Yogourt if she had wished. Excellent coffee also -- Colombian or vanilla hazelnut or chocolate raspberry or butterscotch. Or tea of course: orange pekoe or Earl Grey or black currant herbal.
She preferred to head out. (Of course I didn't tell her exactly what she was missing).
The restaurant had a terrific menu. She chose a crab cake app with a spinach salad, which looked OK but I knew that her salad was not as good as mine.
And I chose a scallops app and a frites with truffle oil and fresh parmesan. To die for. Really. The scallops were great, three large ones, barely cooked, with a peppery tomato horseradish dipping sauce. But the frites: hot, thin, crispy . . . I have never EVER had frites as good. With aioli mayonnaise. I shared. But I enjoyed every single frite I ate myself. And it will probably be a year before I order them again . . . anywhere. Those frites will remain the highwater mark of frites in my mind for a very long time.
(Yup, tracked everything and was well within my calorie range at the end of the day . . . ).
So this morning I read a most intriguing interview in the Toronto Globe and Mail with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips. He's written a new book, "Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life". It's about our regretful yearning for experiences we haven't had . . . which falsely consoles us but at the same time deprives us of the joy of our actual lives in the present, or the joy we could have if we lived our lives fully.
The interview is a short read, and it's a fascinating read, which sparked a lot of thought. Do we spend too much time longing for the impossible? Do we waste energy trying to determine what we want, and failing to accept there are some things we can't know about ourselves or about other people? When what we need most is real connection in the present? Can we admire what others have without coveting? And how would our lives be different if we did?
I often joke that I'd like a nutrition tracker that recorded what I "wanted" and didn't eat. Yesterday I chose to eat exactly what looked most appealing on the menu . . . missed out on nothing . . . and savoured life in the present. I needed that.
So I'll be looking forAdam Phillips' " Missing Out", but in the meantime if you are interested here is the link: