Doing Something

It’s hard for me to believe it, but this post marks post #100 for this blog. That’s not an insignificant milestone, so I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on some things I’ve been thinking about.

As a baker, I sometimes feel like it’s not a big deal what I do. I’m not even talking in the scheme of the universe, I’m just talking in the world of baking. It might be different if I were making my own recipes more of the time, but my father-in-law’s lovely perspective notwithstanding, I still sometimes feel like anyone can follow someone else’s instructions. Do you ever feel that way?

Some people tell me they’re terrible bakers, which I always find a little hard to understand. It seems to me that all you have to do is follow the instructions and that’s it. Someone has already laid out the path in front of you, you just have to follow it. But some people are better at it than others. There’s nothing wrong with that, different people have different skills.

If you look at it from another perspective, not everyone has chosen to be a baker. Even if they could have, they have not chosen to. There are countless worthwhile endeavors out there, so you can’t fault anyone for that. But I think that’s part of the difference. I have chosen to. I decided to bake, and I do. That’s not insignificant.

My wife and I have this lovely habit of thanking each other for mundane things. I can’t remember exactly how it started, but I’m pretty sure I was following her example. Thank you for taking out the trash. Thank you for putting away the laundry. Thank you for getting stamps. These actions may seem insignificant and not worthy of notice, but it’s our way of acknowledging all the little things that we constantly do. It helps us not take each other for granted.

And of course, I’ll always thank my wife for making dinner when she does so. Sometimes it’s wonderfully elaborate, and sometimes it’s wonderfully simple. If it’s the latter, she’ll often say that she didn’t do much. To which I’ll reply various things. “You did something, and I didn’t do anything.” “Raise your hands everyone here who made dinner.” “Just because it wasn’t much doesn’t mean you didn’t do it.”

The decision to do something is often the difference. Lots of times we could do something and we don’t. And lots of times we just decide to do it. No matter how big or small the action, it’s the action that matters.

To put it another way, and to go linguistic nerd on you for a sec, German has a group of prepositions that can make the words after them be in either the accusative or dative case, depending on the circumstances. It depends on whether or not there’s motion towards the object of the prepositional phrase. If there is, it’s accusative, if there’s not, it’s dative. My high school German teacher, one of my favorite teachers of all time, had a mnemonic device she shared with us for this situation which was “accusative – alive, dative – dead”. (One of her other favorite ones was singing “You’re So Vain” to remind us of the accusative form of the word which means “who”. It’s funny if you know it.)

In any case, my point is that taking action towards something makes a difference. Deciding to do something makes a difference. Doing something, no matter how big or how small makes a difference. If you ever look at yourself and wonder what you’re doing and whether it makes a difference or not, baking or otherwise, this can be a good thing to remember.

What have you done that has made a difference? Big or small. To you or anyone else. Today or in the past. I’d love to hear your stories!

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