Beautiful and Damned

But after a few tastes of this latter dish I had had enough. Here! I said, Experience is not worth the getting. It’s not a thing that happens pleasantly to a passive you- it’s a wall that an active you runs up against. So I wrapped myself in what I thought was my invulnerable scepticism and decided that my education was complete. But it was too late. Protect myself as I might by making no new ties with tragic and predestined humanity, I was lost with the rest. I had traded the fight against love for the fight against loneliness, the fight against life for the fight against death. (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

One of the first principles learned in any basic economics course – resources are scare. And humans are naturally risk adverse. Much like the main characters of Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned, many of us have taken a ‘defensive’ approach to life, when really – we should be free-falling or catapulting toward an ‘offensive’ life strategy, especially when our time is so short. It’s hard to do. I think about all the folks engaged in unhappy relationships, who stay together simply because it’s safe and comfortable. Conversely, there are those who are social hummingbirds, flitting and fleeting from flower to flower, but not ever trusting enough to make a bigger commitment. I think about those folks who never left Neverland, or still cling on to memories of yesteryear – those who believe that the best days are long behind them. Then there are those who have numbed themselves to all life pains, behind some bottle or other, living – no – merely existing under a drugged induced stupor of reality. All the while, the clock is ticking, never ceasing, unrelenting in its progression.


Homemade Nutty Granola
Source: Loosely based off my friend Steph’s recipe

2 tbs dark brown sugar
1/3c honey
1/4c vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch salt
2c rolled oats, not quick cooking or instant
1c puffed rice cereal, such as Rice Krispie’s [Cheerios also work really well]
3/4c mixed nuts, roughly chopped; walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, etc
1/2c mixed seeds; sesame, pepita, flax seeds, etc
1/2c shredded coconut
1/2c mixed dried fruit; raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, etc

Preheat oven to 250F.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. To the bowl, add oats, puffed rice cereal, nuts and seeds.


Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment. Spread the granola mixture evenly over the parchment. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring the mixture every 5-10 minutes with a large spatula or wooden spoon during baking, to ensure even browning.
At the 20 minute mark, add the shredded coconut. This is to prevent the coconut from burning. Once evenly browned, remove from heat and add fruit.

Allow granola to cool on pan. At this stage, the granola will harden and clump as it cools. So, if you want smaller clusters of granola, I recommend stirring the baked granola a few times to break up the larger clusters. Once cool, store in air-tight container, and enjoy. I gifted several smaller containers to a few friends and co-workers, and I think it was a hit. I definitely like this version infinitely better than anything store bought. And it’s so quick/easy/cheap to make too!


In a previous (though not too distant) life, my friends and I were very much the beautiful and damned. In our towering stilettos and curve-hugging mini dresses, we flaunted our youth and vigor, daring any man (or woman) to approach, daring any one to broach a conversation. Our nonchalance and casual manner didn’t encourage meaningful encounters or significant relationships, when deep down – we all craved something more substantial than just a hook up, just a one nighter, just another handsome face to talk to at the bar. It seems silly, doesn’t it? In a way, we purposely surrounded ourselves with lots of people and succeeded in buffering ourselves from being lonely, but at the same time, we lost at life’s greater mission and were condemned to fail. What did we gain from this frivolity? Doesn’t it seem a bit counter-productive?


In numerous blog entries, I’ve talked about free-falling and actively being a participant in my own life. I say it with such conviction, willing myself to believe the things I say – but I know it’s difficult. It’s not easy to throw oneself at life, very well knowing that it hurts, is tragic, and a completely awful experience. Then why bother? Last rule of economics – the greater the risk, the greater the return. And that’s something my friend, a WS trader, taught me.


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