WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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Shiny New Kitchens

We’re remodeling our kitchen.  I’ve been ready for this for years, but the husband hasn’t.  He deemed our kitchen’s 1987 remodel sufficient here in the 2010’s and frequently reminded me its parts were top of the line.  And they were – in 1987.   

With few exceptions, I’ve gotten our home’s stuff the way I like it when I want. The pointy two-toned shoes and mandarin collared shirts reflecting my husband’s appreciation for The Shaft disappeared in the first two months of our marriage.  The painters pull in the driveway just about every time he travels.  Two bunnies (live ones) and a three-story bunny condo appeared in our yard one afternoon.  The list goes on, but suffice it to say I’ve snuck countless things in and out of this place.  I just couldn’t figure out how I’d get away with a kitchen.

Then somewhere around year 14 of wanting a new shiny kitchen, I realized all my wanting sitting beside my husband’s not wanting wasn’t doing me much good.  Who cares if lighting the cooktop means turning the gas burners on high and hurling a match from four feet away to preserve my eyebrows?  It’s festive.  Who gives a flip if the cabinets don’t close all the way?  Guests can see what’s in them and so don’t have to snoop around for what they’re after.  A few missing drawer handles?  I can open those bad boys in a hot minute by wedging a screwdriver in the top.  And, just like that, when I finally decided to make peace with my kitchen, the husband said, “Our kitchen’s looking a little shabby.  Let’s fix it up.”

Herein lies the rub.  When we decide we have enough, more comes along.  When we decide we are enough, we find our best selves.  When we decide others are enough, we are healed through connection.  But deciding to choose enough can take a while (see “year 14” reference above).  Plus, it can feel risky – choosing enough requires a powerful leap of faith as we drop our own and others’ limiting expectations and courageously embrace self-compassion.  Still, if we take the leap, we’ve got all we need . . . our own and others’ bountiful, glorious, perfect enoughness.

Now, I’ve got to go look at some ovens.

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Photo Credit:  Boeke, D. (April 4, 2010).  Julia Child’s Kitchen at the Smithsonian.  Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/dboeke/4533716788

Whitney Cain