Chuckie (Ben Affleck) to Sean (Matt Damon): “Look – you’re my best friend, so don’t take this the wrong way. In twenty years, if you’re still livin’ here, comin’ over to my house to watch the Patriots games, still workin’ construction, I’ll fu– kill you. That’s not a threat. Now, that’s a fact. I’ll fu– kill you.” (Good Will Hunting)
Ever since I was a little girl, there’s been this super demanding voice inside my head (not unlike Ben Affleck’s in Good Will Hunting) – it told me to wake up early for school everyday, and study until the late hours of the night; it told me to complete the extra credit assignments, do the supplemental readings, and dig a little deeper into my research; it forced me to author and publish obscure research articles, that no one outside my field would ever read, but that I was really proud of; it made me work 40 hours a week in addition to a full load of classes, so I could gain other types of experiences; it encouraged me to spread this gained knowledge to others; and now it’s telling me that I can’t just be content with a menial job, working 9-5 just to make ends meet, but that I better milk every single opportunity life has to offer – whether it’s the next big promotion, a chance for exponential growth, an unforgettable experience of a lifetime, or an opportunity to make a monumental difference in the world. As a kid, I appreciated the voice, and it was my solace when life wasn’t going my way (whether a bad relationship or a tragic event). I would put in more hours working or studying or volunteering to keep all the other demons at bay. But now, sometimes, I fear it. I enjoy its familiarity, but its company often comes with strings attached. When I heed its advice, I am called greedy. Greedy – for not wanting a stifled, unhealthily complacent, and restless life. Greedy – in that I want so so so much more. Does that make me truly greedy?
I had a nice conversation with my friend Simone about this and she put it so aptly – don’t think of it as greed. Rather, think of it as a gift. Each person has a varying degree of motivation and drive. We each have our own dreams and goals to achieve, and it is our destiny to fulfill it. Sure, a lot of people don’t heed that voice in their heads, or in some cases, they just can’t – but isn’t that just extra motivation for you to follow yours? I had a similar conversation with my friend Anthony and he asked me, do you stop running because there are those restricted to a wheel chair? I didn’t think so.
Red Velvet Cupcakes
Source: Red Velvet Comparison
2 1/2 c cake flour [2 1/4 c flour + 1/4 c corn starch]
1 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbs cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1½ c vegetable oil
1 c buttermilk [7 oz. milk + 1 tbs vinegar]
2 tsb (1 oz.) red food coloring
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
For cream cheese frosting:
1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 pound confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a pan with cupcake liners. Here I use a mini muffin tin, but a regular muffin tin or 9″ cake rounds work too.
In a large bowl, sift and whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients together until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet, and beat until all lumps disappear.
Using a tablespoon scoop, fill each of the mini muffin cups with batter. For mini cupcakes, bake for 6-8 minutes, and check frequently there after. My first try with the mini cupcakes yielded really dry, over baked cake, so I’ve learned to be more careful. I err on the side of slightly undercooked, as they continue to bake in the pan, even when removed from heat. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla until incorporated and no longer lumpy. Frost cooled cupcakes. Decorate (optional) and enjoy!
Over moist, soft, and absolutely adorable cupcakes, I’ve made peace with this inner voice. I’ve come to terms with my own self-determination and motivation. I am comfortable with my voracious ambitions. Now is the time to honor it.