These days, I find myself routinely returning to the same few recipes - cookies, banana bread, lemon cake. There's something especially comforting in the assurance that the results will be the same, that success (in my opinion) is guaranteed.
The same goes for what I've been doing. It's been the same places, same faces, same names, of late. I've been feeling particularly insular, returning to the simple things that bring me comfort, not particularly willing to venture out for the new and the exciting.
Pound cakes have long been the bane of my existence. Don't get me wrong - I don't mind a hefty slice of the cake myself, and, in fact, it was the first cake I baked. Ever.
I can still remember pulling that 9x7" pan out of the oven at 11 at night, watching the steam rise as I cut into the browned and cracked crust, taking a bite of the rich, buttery flavor of the cake alongside my mum. But, I can also recall having to wipe and scrub and wash the mixing bowls and all too-many utensils, having to mop the butter and flour off counter top, walls and floors, finally tumbling to bed dusted in flour.
Never again, I told myself, shall I bake again on a school night.
Here I am, a year later, typing away at the same fuschia laptop - only slightly more battered and decorated - and baking myself a small cake for my birthday. Going to the museum and watching a film isn't too different, either. Nor is trying to find the words to write here. In fact, nothing much has changed. I've made some and lost some. It's still the same old me here, bearing that increasingly nonchalant attitude towards my birthday.
To think that half a lifespan ago - that's 8 years to you, having a sweet sixteenth equated to the proverbial celebration involving too much pink and glitter, as advocated in one too many movies revolving around high school. And here we are, 8 years down the road, along with too many vows made to myself (i.e. all thou shalt wear will be black), that celebration has translated to a quiet day with a good friend with promises of good food and quality conversation. The loud, pinker-than-a-suckling-pig celebration is nothing but snatches of thoughts from days past. This very realization makes me feel both so old and so young.
(I'm getting maudlin)
I have officially lost the right to put '14' on my profile bios.
(Yes, Happy Fifteenth Charlie!)
I have neither experienced that proverbial and oft described as "sudden swooshing sensation" upon waking up - aka maturity setting in - nor woken up all bouncy and bright like I did a decade ago. Rather, it was more of a wake-up-at-five-due-to-insomnia and message-friend-also-suffering-from-insomnia before having the oh-its-my-birthday kinda morning.
It's strange, really, to think that I used to be all too eager to shoot up, and now, I'm bemoaning my loss of youth and dreading the appearance of crow lines (okay, I kid about the latter statement). Or the current moaning and groaning over needing to be taller when I used to despise being the head that stuck out from the sea of heads in class...