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It's the little things that matter in life and sometimes I forget this fact. I have spent the past 6 years of my life attending school full-time and working part-time and struggling too much with day-to-day tasks to slow down and remember that my personal goals are not the centre of the universe. I have complained before about my current situation and I'm starting to see how a half-empty glass can sometimes be a good thing.

Being unemployed is the best thing that could have happened to me at this point in my life. Never mind the fact that it didn't ''happen'' to me, considering how I did have a job several months back that I chose to quit. Any energy that would normally go towards working can now go towards me. I can't even begin to explain all the personal issues that I have, which is just an excuse for not doing so. It's embarrassing to talk about low self-esteem and feeling lost in a city where I tried to remake myself and failed miserably because you can't ever remake yourself truly. All you can really do is build upon what you've already got, unless you want to be like me and destroy the foundation of your being and wake up one day to discover you don't know who the hell you are anymore. But that's all in the past, and today is the present and today is another day of rebuilding what is left.

Having a full day to yourself without work or school to serve as distractions will show you what sort of person you are. Do you like to call up your friends, or do you stay at home and write, or do you cook or clean or get in your car and leave town? I'm the sort of person who likes to write lists of things to do and drink coffee and read the advice section in the newspaper and water my plants and watch the cats fight with each other. When the upside down tomato planter hanging on the balcony finally produces its first tomato, it is plucked from the stem and admired for the smooth redness of round skin that is firm to the touch and sits lopsided on the kitchen countertop. Fresh herbs are picked from the wooden box on the balcony. The thyme sprawls across the dirt, emitting a strong, sharp scent which overpowers the parsley and rosemary and basil. Into a large pot on the stove it goes, the sprigs sinking into the artichoke-vegetable broth mixture that fills the dim kitchen with steam and soft bubbling sounds. Rosemary needles are kneaded into sticky bread dough which is worked into extra flour on the counter. A burned rap mix CD that I've never heard before plays through the TV speakers; I don't have a stereo, so the DVD player works just as well. I don't know if rap is really my scene, but I like it better than the native flute music I tried out last week.

I like to let the bread dough rise and press it flat onto a cookie sheet and brush it with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt and extra rosemary needles on it. It comes out of the oven golden brown just as the artichoke soup is being pureed in the blender. The only thing missing from the kitchen is a shelf above the stove to hold my collection of oils, and something to decorate the strip of white wall that runs across the tops of the cupboards. Some funky mushrooms would look great painted there. I bet I could paint them myself. The bread pulls apart moist and textured on the inside, hard and chewy on the outside and it tastes delicious dunked into a bowl of warm homemade soup while the upside down tomato plant sways outside the window, bits of green and red against a darkening sky. I can't remember what I did in the afternoon before starting my cooking, and I'm not sure how the day went by so fast. There is more to life than I realized and there is a beauty in the simple things I used to overlook. There is nothing to distract me from what's important right now. I don't know the secret to happiness, but this seems like a good place to start.

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