If someone had told me 10 years ago that at 27 I would spend my spare time baking and would get incredibly excited about a new apron, I would have laughed.

No way. No how. Not a chance.

Yet here I am, ecstatic about my most recent purchase and the mixed berry pie I made the other night. And I'm not the least bit ashamed.

Many of the mothers that raised my generation somehow, miraculously, juggled the demands of full-time work with the challenges of raising a family and maintaining order in their house.

They—my own mother included—did so with grace. And while they did it, they taught us that we can do anything we want. That our lives are what we make of them.

We can have a family and a successful career. We can travel the world if we want, all alone or with a companion. We can go ahead and not get married—ever. We can "settle down" and live a happy, traditional life. Or we can live a life unlike any that's been lived before. There is no formula. There is no right or wrong way. It's up to us.

We can do it all, these mothers told us. We listened.

And so, young, motivated, empowered (stop rolling your eyes, Conservative Boy), we set out to make over the world. To do anything and everything we set our minds to.

We went to college. We jumped into jobs that excited us, that energized us, that we loved.

Along the way, we're finding that sometimes our dreams have changed. The original career path we envisioned for ourselves (for me, being an investigative reporter the likes of Woodward and Bernstein) has moved in a new direction.

Our aspirations shift and change over time, but are no less important and relevant and possible. We have discovered that things we never thought we would be interested in—gardening, cooking, marrying—aren't something to be feared and shunned as the antithesis of who we are and ought to become.

Rather, some of those actions are to be embraced. Not because society tells us it's what we are supposed to do, that being domestic goddesses is our calling and all we were made for in this life.

But because there's something wonderful and relaxing and, yes, even empowering about spending time with your hands in the earth, about tending to a garden and watching the seeds you have planted grow into plants producing food that fills your own belly.

There's something worth rejoicing in the process of learning how to transform raw ingredients into a dish to be savored. There's something strangely exciting in finally finding the perfect pie crust or discovering a cookie recipe that makes everyone who tries it swoon.

It's a bit selfish, in fact, this love of all things domestic. It's another challenge to conquer, another new activity to try. It's something to succeed at and, when we fail, to keep trying to improve.

But there's also joy in making good food to be shared with loved ones. There's something satisfying about planting a garden that can be enjoyed not just by the people who harvest its fruits or cut its flowers, but by everyone who passes by.

And so I forge ahead, finishing up my master's and still figuring out what I'm going to be when I grow up. Dreaming about writing novels and somehow making a difference in the world.

And when I need a break from all that work, I find a moment of absolute joy by donning a cheerful apron.

When I'm bleary eyed and worn out, I find solace and strength and enjoyment in the kitchen, baking pies and trying new recipes.

I find happiness and serenity in the garden, playing in the fertile soil.

And that's OK.

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