I ground up some apples last week and pressed them into cider. It was a deeply satisfying (and delicious) project. I had never made cider before, but I’m lucky to have a friend who grows his own apples and was willing to lend me his press and a little knowledge to help me along. It was really quite easy: Chop up the apples, throw them in a food processor, put them in a barrel, and press them down, and voilà, cider.
Weirdly, the simplicity caught me off guard. When I went to drink the cider, it tasted, well, exactly as I knew apple cider tasted. I had always figured store bought cider had something more complicated in its process, but, no, apple cider was completely demystified for me. I often feel like this when creating something for the first time. Not everything has a magical, complicated process that’s beyond my reach of figuring out if I just try it. What was important about this moment for me was that it reminded me of the value and enjoyment of trying new things and doing it yourself.
The complacency of adulthood is digging its claws into me a bit these days and the cider incident has been a bit of an emotional jolt reminding me that breaking out of that cycle is fun and good. It’s easy to rely on the comfort foods I’ve built up for myself. Playing Destiny, watching television shows and movies, listening to the same 15 podcasts every week, cooking with my girlfriend after work, playing D&D on Thursdays. These things work for me. They’re consistent and bring order to my life. But, if I let the sameness of life takeover, I’ll never learn and grow in the ways I tell myself I want to. I’ll certainly never make headway on the big goals I have in my head like biking across America or walking the Appalachian Trail.
Apple cider will always be a reminder to get a little uncomfortable. Not everything is scary or difficult. Life can be fun and new and an adventure in small ways every day if you let it. Go out and demystify the world, one batch of cider at a time.