Friday Musings: Sharpen Your Pencils

Friday Musings: Sharpen Your Pencils

Every year at this time I get the urge to buy school supplies. New pencils, impeccably sharpened, looseleaf paper, completely smooth, and a pencil case. I have a real thing for pencil cases. And then I remember that I’m not going back to school. In fact, this year I don’t even have children who are going back to school, not as students anyway. My youngest has graduated from college, and is now a teacher just like the others, and so that brings an official end to school years for me. I should be happy and I should be relieved, but there’s something about it that makes me feel just a little bit sad. In part, I think it’s due to the fact that September always felt like it brought a clean slate, which meant a chance to start over and an opportunity to look at things in a brand new way. I think it’s ingrained in us from when we’re very young and we’re attending school ourselves, and it follows us quite naturally into parenthood when we experience school in a completely different way through our kids. A new school year brings new people to meet and new things to learn, whether we’re children or adults. It brings us a new beginning.

What does it really mean to start over? Is it even possible? I believe that it’s more than possible; in fact I think there are times when it’s completely essential, especially when we’re leaving behind a difficult situation that has left us feeling depleted rather than fulfilled. But how do we begin the process? Well, if we’re moving away from something major that has brought us pain and sorrow, or limitless aggravation, we have to begin by clearing house. We need some time to mourn, but then we have to begin removing as many daily reminders of the person or situation from our lives as we can. They are often woven in like part of an intricate tapestry, and it can be so hard to take that first step of pulling on the right thread that begins the unweaving process. As difficult as it seems, it has to be done. Too many reminders will just hold us back, and make us feel unbearably sad and unable to move on.

As we’re going through this process we also need to surround ourselves with the people who know and love us best. Think about it. When we’re feeling even just a little bit under the weather what’s the first thing we do? We reach for our most comfortable pajamas or sweats, grab a blanket, and curl up in the coziest spot in the house. This is the same idea. We need our most supportive friends and family members, we need our biggest fan club, we need those people who will allow us to cry and talk and wail and vent as long as we have to. They know that it’s part of our process, and they know that we’ll eventually stop.

Once the wailing ends, it’s time for us to get out there and start doing things. Fun things. New things. Bucket list things. By having experiences that are fun or brand new, we’ll begin to lay the foundation for what the next part of our lives will look like, and having something to look forward to and to feel good about is so very important when we’re trying to reinvent ourselves. Slowly, but surely, we will begin to feel the change happen, until suddenly we are a brand new person that would never accept the situation we just left behind. We’ve grown so far away from it that it becomes foreign to us, and something that we would no longer consider desirable. Are you feeling like this? Is there something that you need to change? Start today. Sharpen your new pencils and stock up on looseleaf. Think of me and buy a pencil case. It’s that time of year when you can begin again.

The great thing about cocktails is that they always give you the opportunity to start over. It’s a constant process of reinvention. For today I decided to go with an equal parts cocktail that’s along the lines of The Last Word. I wanted my base to be mezcal, and I wanted to pair it with lime and velvet falernum because they are always such natural dance partners for anything that’s remotely like tequila. For the final ingredient that would bring the herbal component to the drink, I needed something that I hadn’t used in a cocktail before. I decided on Strega, an Italian liqueur whose yellow color comes from saffron and whose flavor is bold and woodsy, and an interesting counterpart to the smokiness of the mezcal. The four ingredients are an unexpected combination that worked surprisingly well together to bring a new spin to this classic drink, and that is exactly what this post called for. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!

Sharpen Your Pencils

¾ oz Del Maguey mezcal
¾ oz Velvet Falernum
¾ oz Strega
¾ oz lime juice

Combine all the ingredients together in a shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a curled lemon strip. We’re going for a pencil shavings here. Contemplate some changes. Enjoy!

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