“What Then?” by William Butler Yeats | I think about this one a lot.

His chosen comrades thought at school
He must grow a famous man;
He thought the same and lived by rule,
All his twenties crammed with toil;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

Everything he wrote was read,
After certain years he won
Sufficient money for his need,
Friends that have been friends indeed;
‘What then?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘ What then?’

All his happier dreams came true —
A small old house, wife, daughter, son,
Grounds where plum and cabbage grew,
poets and Wits about him drew;
‘What then.?’ sang Plato’s ghost. ‘What then?’

The work is done,’ grown old he thought,
‘According to my boyish plan;
Let the fools rage, I swerved in naught,
Something to perfection brought’;
But louder sang that ghost, ‘What then?’

Pizza & Steak – A Childhood of Picky Eating

Recently, in order to lose some weight and generally be more healthy, I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to count my calories. Seeing my eating habits just reminds me of how badly my eating habits were before my twenties. Bad eating habits isn’t the right word, it is more like from birth to twenty I refused to try new food. Each decade my palate has expanded twice as much as the previous decade.

As a child, I ate practically nothing. As far as regular meals went pizza and steak weren’t just my favorite meals it was practically the only thing I would eat. I hated sandwiches, everything about them including the cold cuts, the bread and anything that went else with them. I would eat muffins as my main meal, except on Friday when Pizza was served in the cafeteria. I’d save my change until I had eighty cents, enough to get two bags of Cheddar Fries that week.

I feel bad about it. It would of been much easier on my parents if I had just tried more food. My dad used to have to go to Sal Anthony’s Pizza shop next to the chinese food place because I wouldn’t try any of it. When we bought bagels after church on Sundays, the only bagel I would eat was a salt bagel with nothing on it. Yeah, I just wrote that and it sound crazy to me now. It took forever for my brain to make the connection that the bagels my mother was making pizza bagels on tasted so good because they were everything bagels.

I obviously loved fast food, but not burgers. This isn’t burgers fault but rather just due to the circumstances of my family. Burgers at home were burnt and stiff like hockey pucks. This isn’t because my parents didn’t know how to cook burgers but because we were doing really bad financially. It was cooked so much because it was really cheap meat and they, being my parents, were protecting me from getting sick from cheap meat. I, being a child. thought that is just what all burgers tasted like. Here’s how long I went on thinking burgers tasted like that. It wasn’t until 2008 after I saw the How I Met Your Mother episode “The Best Burger in New York” that I tried burgers again. Spoiler alert: I really love burgers now.

One time on Christmas my aunt tricked me into eating the Christmas ham. I don’t know why I fell for it but she told me it was turkey or chicken, which one I am not sure. Of course I liked it because ham is delicious but obviously it was hilarious for them because they tricked me into eating something I normally would not have eaten.

Here’s some other crazy oh-man-I-can’t-believe-I’m-just-trying-this-now moments. It wasn’t until sixteen that I tried a bagel with cream cheese, bacon, and eggs. Technically, thanks to my former best friend’s dad on New Year’s Eve, I tried liquor before I tried those foods. It blows my mind now and I can remember distinctly when I had them. I had the bagel with cream cheese when a friend of mine in a class wasn’t hungry enough to eat her whole bagel so she offered me half. I didn’t want to be rude and was pretty hungry so I tried it. Delicious. I used to stay over my best friend’s house all the time so one morning his mom was making breakfast, a big ol’ plate of bacon. Not wanting to be rude, I tried it. Oh man, so great. The eggs, similar situation, I went camping with the same family in Smith’s Point and for breakfast his parents made scrambled eggs with bacon which I had never tried before. My thought process was since I liked bacon I’ll probably like eggs as well. Boom, egg lover for life. Same best friend, had a girlfriend whose dad loved to cook ribs. He was kind of pushy at a barbeque for everyone to try them. I’m noticing a theme of trying new phone in order to not be rude as a teenager. Anyway, ribs, yum. Obviously, having newly acquired a love of cream cheese on bagels at sixteen I also gained a love for cheese cake.

My twenties has just been an explosion of trying new food. Working in a deli department I have tried so many different meats and cheeses I had never tried as a kid or a teenager. I probably didn’t try strawberries until I was 21. It wasn’t until my friends brought me to Chipotle in I want to say 2011 that I had a burrito for the first time. It wasn’t until 2012 that I tried Taco Bell, having constantly being told it was grade F horse meat as a kid from my mother. This year I actively chose to try as many new foods as possible. I tried sushi, tomatoes on burgers and sandwiches (which was one of the rare foods I actively hated, not just refused to try), salsa, different salads with mayo (still don’t like it), gyros, Spanish food (Spain Spanish), and Thai food.

Looking back I can’t believe the food I refused to eat. Not because of the taste but because of how they looked, their texture, their smell or bad experience I had with them. It wasn’t until my twenties that I learned to get over my preconceived notions of food and just try it. You could probably apply that to life, just try it.