Next week is my birthday and for the past few years I have been a complete bummer. As much as I like to celebrate with friends and family, I get a little bit down on myself for not accomplishing everything that I wanted to do or where I might be in my life, whether it is a job or school or lacking any type of path.
I was feeling really overwhelmed with the upcoming year and ashamed of myself for not taking more chances or more opportunities. A bunch of why’s flooded my brain; why do I still work in a restaurant? Why haven’t I updated any skills to put on a resume? Why didn’t I decide to update my high school credits sooner? Why am I turning 28 and done nothing with my life?!?
All these feelings flooded over me and turned into tears so naturally like the grown up I am, I called my mommy. After telling me all the nice things that mothers are suppose to say when you call them crying she told me that everything is going to be ok. I didn’t believe her and I felt like everything was taking a really long time and I was at a stand-still, despite actively being in school, doing my site and working a full time job. Strange how you can be doing so much and yet feel motionless. She told me that her twenties were very difficult raising two children on her own but after that it got much better. Her husband also told me that sometimes his life was a disaster also raising two children, losing this job to a machine and then having to travel all the time for a lower paying position because it was one of the few jobs available. He mentioned that when the mother of his children became pregnant for a second time, he had a mortgage and no job. The stress was intense but after a lot of hard work, things did in fact get a little bit smoother. They said that sometimes it felt like things were always going to be bad but thankfully their situations did get better with a little help, love and support from the people around them. They said neither one of them had it all figured out by the time they were 30 and I really shouldn’t put that much pressure on myself when it comes to figuring my entire life out. I was looking at their lives now but did not see the struggle to get there. I was comparing my path to their destination. It was a good prep talk and turned my attitude a full 180 and got down to planning.
I decided to prepare some birthday goals, which are unlike resolutions have an action plan attached to them. I will give myself until my next birthday to accomplish them since some of them aren’t things that can be accomplished in a week (and thats ok!). I am not one for New Year’s resolutions since I find they are empty but having an action plan can be empowering. Each time I check an item off the list, big or small it is a victory in itself!
My first and most important goal this year is to dump someone that has been dragging me down. This person that is doubting my every decision, embarrassed by the decisions that I have made in the past, someone who doesn’t believe in me and compares my efforts, actions and accomplishments to other peoples. She sighs when she sees someone else’s post or recipe or photograph that is better than mine, thinking I will never be as good as them and might as well just give up entirely. This person is not on Team Jess when I sometimes need her to be so badly. All my friends are on Team Jess, rooting for me in the wings, cheering me on with words of encouragement, support and love but just not her.
This person is myself; that little negative voice in my head that tells me that I simply can’t. I don’t need that little voice telling me I can’t or I shouldn’t or what will people think? I am delaying goals I have had for the longest time because of this and for what? Because of what a stranger may think of me when they see that I am in fact a terrible dancer or so inflexible it is almost laughable or that people in a writing class will hate my ideas? These are not good enough reasons to not pursue the things that I want to do. Who is winning here? Not me. We are always hardest on ourselves but isn’t the world hard enough without our own little voice telling us we aren’t good enough? This is why my number one birthday goal is to stop ruining my own life.
On that note, I hope you take a little time today and make that goal for yourself, it may not be your birthday or New Years but it is an important one to practice daily. Enjoy these muffin tops with a cup of tea and get your list going.
- 1 cup pure pumpkin puree*
- 7-8 Medjool dates, pitted** (about 170 grams after pitting)
- ¼ cup virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats***
- 2 medium carrots, grated. About ½ cup finely shredded carrots
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 4 tablespoons dried cranberries****
- Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the pumpkin, pitted dates, coconut oil, and spices into a food processor. Process until smooth. They should be no rough chunks of dates.
- Add the baking powder, vanilla and salt to the processor and process until combined, 5 seconds or so.
- Add in 1.5 cups of the rolled oats and process for about 5-6 seconds until the oats are combined but still rough—not oat flour textured!
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside. In the now empty food processor, grate the carrots using a grating disk. Stir in the remaining oats, carrots, pecans and cranberries until combined.
- With a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the mixture onto the parchment, leaving a bit of space between each mound. They won’t rise like cookies but it ensures that they will all be golden brown. I made 9 muffin tops.
- Bake the tops for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until they are golden brown on the bottom, CAREFULLY lift with a wide spatula to check the bottoms.
- Transfer the baking sheet onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Once the pan has cooled, transfer each muffin top to the cooling rack and cool completely.
- Store in an air tight container (once completely cooled) and refrigerate until ready to eat! They will last about 5 days in the fridge. Freezer up to one month.
- *Not pumpkin pie filling
- ** If they are dry, soak them in water until soft and plump
- *** I used Bob Mill’s gluten free oats
- **** Golden raisins or dried cherries are good options too