Monday, January 30, 2012

Honey mustard and barbecue


For as long as I can remember, I have always ordered the same sandwich each time I went to Subway: wheat bread, meatball marinara, with everything except olives -- and honey mustard sauce to top it all. Delicious, every time. And ever since they opened a branch right around the corner of my place a couple of months ago, I had become a very loyal customer. Funny thing though, as soon as I enter the restaurant, the same ritual happens: for about ten seconds, I look at the menu above the counter and think about changing my order for once  because I consistently take the same sandwich -- and in truth, it would actually be nice to try something new. But, as is the custom for all the restaurants I go to on a regular basis, I end up ordering the familiar, exact same thing.

Last friday would not be any different: I had been craving for my Subway fix the whole day and was glad to bring a friend along. As I was placing the order for the both of us, the worker asked what sauce we wanted on our sandwiches. I turned to my friend who requested the barbecue one and as usual, I was lusting over my finger-licking honey mustard sauce. In the process though, she got our orders wrong and added barbecue sauce to my familiar, usual meatball-marinara-in-wheat-bread-with-everything-except-olives-dipped-in-honey-mustard sandwich. I did not mind right away until I realized that honey mustard and barbecue could really be an unsettling mix. In the end, I told myself that it was too much a hassle to redo it all and incidentally, I became curious to discover how my standard sandwich would taste with a hint of barbecue sauce.

After taking my first bite, my dear friend was speculative on what my verdict was -- and the sole answer I could give him, mouthful nonetheless, was that it was absolutely heavenly. It was the best Subway sandwich I had ever tasted. At first second-guessing the result, I then understood that getting my order wrong turned out to be a great thing. It put what I thought was right for so many years into perspective. Now I had a new favorite -- and will easily go for a honey mustard and barbecue combination the next time around. As we ate further, my friend reminded me that, ultimately, mistakes do make the best dishes after all.


This episode promptly made me contemplate on mistakes, more specifically, on how we view them. The majority of us live by quotes that praise the positive outcomes of making errors. On a daily basis, notably through the great works of social media, we are pumped with inspirational messages that celebrate our mistakes: because they might crush us at first, but as commonly known, they also allow us to come out stronger (and hopefully wiser) in the course of time. Not only do we comprehend that getting it wrong from time to time is pretty much inevitable, but it shakes us to the core for the better.

But suddenly, another thought followed, and I couldn't help but wonder why, despite the statement above, making mistakes is still one of those things we dread unconsolably in our everyday life -- even though we are well aware of how awe-inspiring their consequences may be. Is it because they change us? Or is it because mistakes have the higher power of defining us? Truth be told, being in erring remains scary and horrible. It means we were wrong. It comes with hurt feelings and egos. Finally, we live in a  world today that thrives on perfection and consequently, we are afraid to make fools of ourselves in our decision-taking process because, let us be honest, we do not all believe that mistakes will make us stronger (or wiser) in the long run.

For instance, many of us yearn for (a radical) change in our lives; yet for some reason, we still tend to remain faithful to the familiar, to what we know. Perhaps because it feels right to begin with? Like ordering the exact same meal in our favorite restaurants, we consider (or pretend to, at least) choosing something else for a nice change of pace; but then, we still wind up with what we are comfortable with more often than not. The reason why we act this way is because, once again, we are all scared that our new choice might be a gigantic mistake. The fear of erring rather than succeeding is stronger -- so we do not even risk it. We stick to the known.

Immediately, that's when I discovered that the real issue lies in the way we evaluate the faults we commit. Undeniably, all those inspirational quotes  speak truth: mistakes do always carry a handful of lessons. Nevertheless, more than anything, I also came to realize that mistakes or being wrong do not all arouse from a bad -- even terrible -- place.  It does not necessarily come with hurt feelings and egos. It does not mean we have to be punished and get the moral of the story at the end of the day. We may not be conscious of  it at first but many times, being wrong is truly a gift handed to us by God -- not to learn something, but to become someone. It is when life throws unusual people and situations at us that encourages us to expand our safe and warm cocoon. It is when we deal with unlikely feelings and relationships that urges us to reevaluate the way we perceive the things that matter to us. Irrevocably, it is when we are least comfortable that we learn most about ourselves  -- and eventually, that is how we become the best version of ourselves. Being thrown out of our comfort zone might feel nefarious, but can be the best thing that could ever happen to us -- but we must be willing to take that risk, to be wrong, to get it wrong, to be fools. Let us just remember that not all important lessons we get from commiting a mistake have to be bitter: Life is fair at times -- and can make our faults taste like a mix of honey mustard and barbecue sauce.  Absolutely heavenly. After all, don't mistakes make the best dishes in the end?

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