I watched a documentary about esteemed Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono, called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”. The movie weaves through Mr. Ono’s life history; his passion for sushi, relationships with his sons, and food critics thoughts on his work. There were several items that attracted me to the film: lengthy moments of little speaking while watching him concentrate intently on something that’s seemingly so simple, his lifelong dedication to following the same patterns daily, and the respect that people have for him.

Who could roll sushi their whole life? The question echoed in my mind as I watched the film. It isn’t sushi I’m asking about, but how could someone dedicate his or her life to one thing so specific. He’s placing a piece of tuna on rice – I know there’s more to it than that. Can he really make it better each time? Is that possible? Food critics and patrons of his restaurant swear the food improves each time they go. How? Seemingly nothing has changed.

photo credit: cafelala.blogspot.com

I look for the “next thing” to grab on, or turn, to when I get comfortable. When I’m seemingly in life’s groove, I feel the need to shake it up and move in another direction. Being “comfortable” doesn’t relax me.

I think that being challenged means changing my course, not perfecting my present craft. I’m starting to think that’s a flawed view.

Mae is in school, Robespierre works out of the home with weekly travel, and Haze and I are at home. Well, more than at home; we are downtown, up the street, playing at parks, watching butterflies, learning our letters, and, well, you get the picture. Saying we are “at home” is limiting, but for all practical purposes it’s Haze and I spending the day together, it’s great, buuuuuut, we are thinking about me getting a job, sending Haze to pre-school, and “shaking up” what’s a comfortable/predictable existence.

Why?

I don’t have a clear answer, and I’m not sure what I want to do, if, of course, I’m fortunate enough to get a job offer. What’s difficult for me, aside from thinking about how it would affect Mae, Haze, and Robespierre, is, why do I want to do it, what’ll be the benefits, and is this a matter of wanting to “get good” at something else, rather than perfecting my current craft. What is my craft? Writing? Being a stay at home parent? Thrift store shopper extraordinaire?

As I process this information, and digest Jiro’s life, I realize that when confronted with the discipline aspect of anything that leads to growing deeper, I haven’t had the patience to stick with the plateaus. I’m afraid that deciding to work out of the home again is an attempt to “quick fix” stagnant waters, rather than digging deeper into my writing, understanding the impact I have on Haze, or otherwise making my tuna on rice better than the last one.

My Papa Sense tells me:

I’ll rub my face and stare into space often while pondering our future. I’ll think too hard and consider too much. I understand that this isn’t the weightiest of decisions to have to make on the surface, but it adds to the pile of “who I want to be” that gravity pulls on as we age.

We want our girls to see that we’re ever evolving, that life is about living and discovering all we can to make ourselves better, and improve the quality of life for those around us. I want them to push themselves to levels they may not think they can reach, but be comfortable honing aspects of their lives that fulfill them. We want them to be content being, not always searching.

We don’t know what Jiro is thinking as he molds his meals, but what we see is a look of determined peace in his eyes, I’m guessing he’s not content with his product, but with the process.

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