I’m at the grocery store with my hands glued to the squeaky shopping cart. I have the things I want to buy on a neatly organized list, because I pride myself on being efficient.
Produce, Cereal Aisle, Baking Aisle, Meats, Breads, etc.
I’ve included ingredients for recipes that I found on Pinterest. Comfort foods that are staples. I even have intentions of buying fresh fruits and vegetables.
My husband and I stroll through the busy aisles, putting items into our cart, almost robotically. Six months married, and we have this thing down. I know what he likes, he knows what I want. We pass the lady rangling six young children; the man in his suit, chatting on his phone while he picks out a nice wine; the dreadlocked couple picking out organic delicacies.
This is just a normal shopping trip that makes no one think twice. Except for me.
It was only a year ago that I couldn’t afford my own food. It was only a couple of years ago that I was eating top ramen in a rundown apartment, wondering if I could stretch the rest to last me a month. I never had a full fridge or a full stomach. Shopping trips consisted of sharing my friend’s food stamps for $50 worth of canned soups and soy milk … or of someone else making all of the purchasing decisions, while I kept my mouth shut because I was in no place to request or complain.
I was always on the brink of homelessness. In fact, I found myself there a few times. From age 19 to 25, I moved over twenty times and often depended on family and friends to put me up while I was figuring out what to do next. Stability was something I never had the luxury of experiencing.
It seemed as though I was always planning and hoping for “tomorrow,” because tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow, I would have everything figured out. Tomorrow, I would hold down a job. Tomorrow, I would accomplish something worth feeling pride over. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow … because “today” was never safe.
And then, somehow, things changed. All of a sudden, I have a residence that will not be taken away from me. The bills are always paid and there is extra money to spend and save. I have this thing called my own home, where I have a major part in the decisions that must be made.
Suddenly, I am at the grocery store not only picking out what I want, but able to afford it. I can try out exotic recipes that I end up burning, and buy treats that stay in the cupboard for months. I can make my own lists full of more than just the necessities, and have it slowly become normal to do so.
So I unload the groceries at home, finding great joy in seeing a fully stocked kitchen. I make my husband my secret-recipe spaghetti that I have nailed, and I clean up the mess in preparation of my next culinary adventure.
Then, I begin making my next shopping list and look forward to next month’s trek to the grocery store.
Why? Because while everyone else pushes their carts with glazed-over eyes, I am cherishing every second of picking out groceries. My life has become safe and stable in a blink of an eye, and I finally find myself living in today, because it is finally better than the promise of tomorrow.
** Thank you to my husband, the man that made this post (and my home) possible.