This past summer, I tried and tried again to re-read Gilbert's book, however. And I could not get past the "Eat" section, when the author is in Italy and lets caution fall by the wayside, falling head-first into Neapolitan pizzas and glass upon glass of wine.
I think the fact that, this year, I could only get through this part of the book really tells you something about me. I believe that life should be filled with sensory adventure. I don't want to get up everyday and eat the same thing, all day, every day. I want to see new places. Learn new things. I want my life, right now, to be filled with stuff I enjoy doing. I think I've reached the point in my life (pushing 40) when I want to give myself permission to stop doing things I don't enjoy - in my professional life, in my personal life, as a parent - just because other people think that's what I should be doing.
It's not that I want to be a glutton. The deliciousness is not necessarily in the eating but in enjoying the life I create. I am, right now, over the asceticism that the second section of the book requires. I feel like I've served my time as an apprentice to life; I've been the disciple, in various ways. Now, I just want to live on something of my own terms. Before I wind up, like the man in Shakespeare's sonnet, with a few sparse leaves rattling around in my ribs:
When yellow leaves, or none, or few do hang,
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs where late sweet birds sang.
So, this summer, I gave myself permission to read only the part of the book that I enjoyed. And then I ate a pizza (and a really amazing one at that);). A/J