Life is uncertain, I learned that a long time ago, so I no longer hesitate to have dessert first if the opportunity arises. Some times I do it intentionally, eat dessert then go fix supper! How many of us heard as a kid that we couldn’t have dessert until we had cleaned our plates? Did your parents let you fill your own plates or did they determine the quantity by dishing up your serving? I often ate more than I wanted or something I didn’t like, just to get to the reward of dessert. Now at the other end of life I am analyzing that, looking at how life is like a metaphor. Appetizers and Desserts, Life IS uncertain, eat dessert first.
I have a favorite restaurant in the town near where I live that has wonderful appetizers. The portions are such that an appetizer and a little light something, like a salad or a cup of soup can be and often has been dinner. Appetizers are intended to stimulate the appetite in preparation for the main meal. Sometimes however they are adequate to satiate the hunger. Previews of movies are the “appetizers” to hook you into wanting to see a movie. Kissing, and gentle touches can be previews of deeper desires. Going on a vacation can be an appetizer for where you might someday want to live. Appetizers are the teasers, the little tastes of what life might be like IF.
I feel like I have enjoyed appetizers and desserts throughout my life. Sometimes I didn’t acknowledge what else was there; the meat and potatoes, the salsa primavera, the main dish. Part of that was because I didn’t feel like I “deserved” it. I felt lucky to have gotten away with the appetizer and if I could sneak in dessert, I had it made. I didn’t want to deal with the main course, the “real” stuff in life. The persistence, discipline, the hard look at the things that trigger me. I felt I was an independent person but didn’t recognize the value of truly taking responsibility for ALL of my life. It was someone else’s “fault” that I felt abandoned, neglected, unloved. It was my mother’s fault that she didn’t love me enough and I grew up insecure. It was my father’s fault that he abandoned me and I never knew what a Daddy’s protective love could feel like. It’s easier if we don’t put ourselves out there to others so they only see the happy side, the easy side, the positive side that is in control.
An example of this philosophy could be the scenario of the friend we meet at a coffee shop, start talking story and sharing experiences with. We only see them from the perspective of that morning coffee break time. We don’t see the harried person “herding cats” as they get their kids together and off to school. We don’t see the stressed person wondering how they are going to pay that unexpected car repair. We don’t see all the things it takes to keep the family fed, cared for and safe. We only see the happy person relaxing with a lovely cup of coffee and no where to be in a hurry, or so it seems. Therefor, the experience of having coffee in community with others is like an appetizer for life. Dessert, in this scenario could be dinner out, seeing all the happy people out enjoying good food and company together. We don’t see the struggle they had to find a baby sitter for their autistic child so they could have an evening out, just the two of them. To those of us looking in from the outside, they just look like a normal couple out to dinner, enjoying each other’s company with not a care in the world. You cannot tell on the woman’s face that her mother is dying. You cannot tell on the man’s face that his boss told him there were cutbacks coming and to start preparing. Sometimes you just have to go out and have dessert. Pretend that life is as sweet as the double chocolate decadent cake that you share with a friend, because it is in that very moment.
Appetizers and Desserts are important. They get us started, they give us something to look forward to. They feed a need like nothing else can. They are part of the total picture.