Life is not actually like a box of chocolates, each bite somehow more cloying than the last. Instead, life is more like a cheese plate: heterogeneous, complex, challenging.
Sometimes you get a choice, but other times the chef chooses for you. You might receive familiar cheese, demure and creamy. Or you might notice an unexpected hue, a funky aroma, an unevenly crystallized texture.
Sometimes there's a dab of jelly, a few nuts, maybe a cluster of leathery dried fruit. Even the crackers are brittle and seedy. Life's cheese plate is not designed to go down easy.
You notice someone the next table over: she's frantically taken the token dab of jelly onto her spoon and swallowed it down. Now she sits, pouting and unsatisfied, with all those other morsels resting untouched on the rustic board. It's a bit pathetic.
If you approach life's cheese plate with the same expectations as a child inhaling holiday candy, you're sure to be disappointed.The self-limited diner resists the actual, at only her own expense. Why train yourself onto the sweet and the simple when you're constantly being offered so much?
(Even little children don't limit themselves to sweet, either - they love sour candies and fizzy ones. Children love challenges and scary thrills)
You've got to meet the cheese plate of life halfway. You might appreciate that lumpy, sour cheese - that poignant, unsettled emotion - without _liking_ it, exactly. Many tastes are acquirable - strenuous but purposeful effort, educational failure: they can be transformed via familiarity from some type of "bad" to some type of "good."
A few tastes remain perpetually challenging but are rendered tolerable when presented alongside other flavors. As they say, the agony of loss is just an after-the-fact price of admission for love. Who has known blessed relief without fear, longing, doubt?
It's always time for dessert around here, but this dessert changes you. Eat the cheese plate.
Pamela J. Hobart - Philosophical Life Coaching Newsletter
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