I met you a decade ago, when I was first learning to love the human body.

You could work my knotted voice and my sprained thoughts, thus easing tensions that I was born with.

I was drawn to you. You were older, you were beautiful.

But things have changed; now, you seem childish.

You glorify sedation and fantasy, as if these alone will complete you.

Yours is a storybook image of life, a poetic shelter which, fast and deliberately, you hang from.

With haunting regret, I watch you grow into a stranger. You were once my unparalleled companion.

Even still, your eyes have never been fairer. I still recognise my old friend in your changed, inelegant motions.

Have you ever felt so excited about your life that you don't want to go to sleep at night?

This question and others like it have been asked before rhetorically, and I was never able to relate to it. I could never nod to myself and say, "yes," inside my head with that special understanding that exists between people who are on the same wavelength. Instead I just felt annoyed, sad, and jealous.

Tonight I'm awake and currently writing this post at 2:23 a.m., Eastern Standard Time. I caught approximately five hours of sleep last night because I was up late researching food science. Work today was a blur of caffeine and mindless typing on the keyboard, trying to meet the daily quota while the travel mug of black tea slowly cooled to an undrinkable temperature on the desk beside the stack of health claims awaiting assessment. I couldn't wait to come home and get back to what I was doing last night. As far as I'm concerned, my paid job is an interruption to my real job. And now I am home, I have conducted more research, and my eyes feel heavy and I know I should sleep. I don't want to go to sleep, though. I can't stand the idea of waking up and going to work when I have better things to do.

I'm putting my life on the path it belongs. No longer do I waste time feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I spend my time at home watching the food network on the television, experimenting with recipes in the kitchen, taking photographs of my food, and researching food science. Then, I write. I write recipe reviews and invent recipes to be tested later. Scientific explanations find their way into my notebook, then everything goes onto my blog.

Hours go toward internet research, searching for writing resources that fit my needs and my budget. The more people I find who do what I do, the more excited I become about the fact that perhaps I am not totally insane, after all. The more personal work I accomplish, the more frustrated I feel that it's not enough - not big enough, not moving fast enough. It's the same feeling that I get when I'm riding my bike and everyone else flies by me because my legs are still too weak to pump the pedals as fast and hard as they need to be pushed. The only way to go faster is to keep moving, and over time the experience and strength will grow to a point that I can travel just as fast as anyone else. Until that happens, I feel happy enough that at least I'm outside enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, pushing myself to the limit instead of sitting on my lazy butt doing absolutely nothing.

When I hear that phrase now, that question that asks if you've ever been so excited about your life that you don't want to go to sleep at night, I understand exactly how it feels to say yes.

10 years.

Has it really been 10 years? Yet, in that time, coming back to this place is as invigorating an experience as always.

I remember those first steps. There were times when I didn't ever feel I'd be good enough. That no matter how much I practiced, my writing couldn't achieve the things I saw from the amazing people I admired.

What I found instead was the most amazing group of supportive, crazy, helpful people I've met. People who went out of their way to offer guidance, to say kind words, to upvote and cool and downvote when I needed it. Who supported me through my crazy periods and who came to just hang out with good friends, good conversations, and good drinks.

This place really did have an impact on me. It gave me hope in this whole internet thing, this crazy collaborative world of strangers and passion and wonderfulness. And it provided a place where the writing was just as important as the content, and where you could really see just how much creativity could get a point across.

I rarely come by anymore - it's like the place in your heart you just can't bear to make time for. Life moves on. In that 10 years I've gotten married, watched the birth of both of my wonderful girls, moved a lot, and had some wonderful experiences. Experiences I always want to find ways to share here.

But instead, I want to share that this is an amazing place. If you are new here, there is so much to be found, so much to be had, and so many rich stories and backstories to be found. Lookup sensei. Read about Butterfinger McFlurries. Toy with Cool Man Eddie.

And find a community - a family - of people who want to hear your stories, help you grow to be even better, and help you find those things you never knew.

It's not easy, and it doesn't happen overnight. But it will stick with you - the writeups, the people and the community. And I thank all of you for continuing to build such an amazing place to be.

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