🌭 I grew up grilling out in the backyard and loved it. Listening to smooth jazz that my dad had playing on an old radio hanging crookedly on our garage while I played basketball...those summer nights were the best. The savory scent of food on the grill, the hum of jazz from the radio that matched my moves on the “court” (a.k.a. the driveway), and, of course, that late evening, summer vibe.
The backyard was one of my favorite places on Earth. Needless to say, any time something was on the grill, us kids were excited to eat a quintessential summer meal—barbecue chicken, brats, burgers, drunken chicken (look it up and thank me later), bruschetta chicken—ahhh, pure bliss. We would be eager to take a break from our activities to catch a glimpse, and a whiff, of the grub when dad opened the grill to inspect his work and to make the necessary adjustments to ensure everything cooked evenly and to perfection.
I remember whenever we would have brats for dinner, my folks were all too eager to indulge in sauerkraut and mustard, while I played it safe and just added ketchup to my 'wursts. I wish I could tell you that, by the time I reached high school, that I put at least one, small line of mustard on any brat I consumed, but alas, that was not the case. At that point in fact, I hadn’t had mustard in years, because I knew what I liked and knew what I didn’t like, and why bother eating something I didn’t like?
It wasn’t until the last few years that finally I said enough was enough. I had to give mustard another go. If I ended up not liking it, who cares? At least I would try it for the first time in forever and not like it again. But you know what happened? I loved it. So much so in fact, that today I have mustard five times per week on my sandwiches for lunch. Go figure.
📖 To me, mustard was a lot like reading. Now, before you roll your eyes about how cliché this blog post seems, just give me a second to explain...
Once I reached middle school and high school, I never read for fun anymore. I obviously had more important things to do, like homework...duh! But, in all reality I stopped reading for fun because, to me, it had lost its luster and I'd rather focus on other hobbies—leaving books in the metaphorical, and literal dust.
It wasn’t until the last few years that I gave reading a try again, and wouldn’t you know it, just like mustard, I “have” it many times per week.
Looking back on my relationship with both mustard and reading, I guess I don’t regret actively disliking either for a number of years, as there isn’t much you can do if you simply don’t enjoy something. But, I do wish that I would have given them a try more frequently to update my experiences.
Look, there are a million different foods, hobbies, or places we avoid simply because we didn’t like them in the past. But, as my simple story about condiments tells us, we mustn't let our preconceived notions continue to dictate what we do or don’t consume.
If you are anything like me, there are several things that you haven’t done, or tried, in a while. Be it books, mustard, or anything in between, you're convinced you don't like it. But, how can you be so sure? And, what’s stopping you from trying it out again?
If you’re adamant that reading isn’t for you, I will ask bluntly: how do you know? When was the last time you tried to read an entire book for fun? You might just surprise yourself once you do pop one open again. And if you do and don’t like it, who cares? At least you now know for sure...until you try it again, that is. 😉