I have a thing for warm nights. I might complain about the heat during the day, the humidity that currently has me on a mission to eschew pants completely when not at work or the fact that I'm pretty sure both those things combined and then amplified by working in a kitchen is causing my skin to look like it belongs to a 14 year old who has yet to discover facewash, but deep down I kind of like it. I kind of love it. Because warm nights and humidity remind me that I'm places other than here. And there's very little I love more than places other than here.
Warm nights to me are a bungalow on the southern coast of Turkey, going to a dinner in a sari in New Delhi, sunsets in Mexico and losing a single flip flop on a Thai beach. Somehow they make me feel free and like the future is full of possibility.
In Northern California, it almost always cools off at night. It's rarely humid. There are maybe two or three weeks of the year when I would go out without having at least a cardigan just in case the fog rolls in. In Northern California, I'm a person defined by the expectations of those around me. There are set habits I have, patterns I fall into and while it's true no matter where you go, there you are, I think there's something to be said for putting yourself in situations where you feel like you have room to grow, situation where things are unfamiliar to you but you still have to make it work.
I've been thinking a lot about what I want out of life. If marriage and family aren't a priority for me, why am I always in relationships, and why do I always put them before everything else? If it's important to me that I find a way to give back to the world on a daily basis, how am I going to make that happen? If I don't want to choose between being in the kitchen and working with kids, how do I make both those things part of my career?
On a warm night, I can walk for hours, smiling to myself for no reason. On a warm night, I don't have to be happy single, but I'm ok with not being needed. I know that I can take the time I fill with relationships and fill it with volunteer work instead. The idea of owning a nonprofit bakery/cafe with a teaching kitchen to provide cooking classes and job skills to at risk youth and young adults isn't some crazy dream I've been telling people for a couple of years now, but something I could actually do someday.
On a warm night, I know I'm on the right path.
(This post is a response to the Reverb11 May prompt, "What is shifting in your life?")