I’m 22 and the biggest hope for my life is that I would learn to bake. So I did! I saw a yummy recipe on Instagram, seemed super easy, I thought, how hard could this be? Well, let me tell you, I cried. Do you know what else makes me cry? My life, LOL! I saw so many parallels between baking cookies for the first time and living life that I knew I had to pen it down! I’m telling you, what I’ve found here is revolutionary! If you need some guidance, this one is for you.

5 life lessons I learned while baking cookies:

1. Lower your expectations

When I took my first batch of cookies out of the oven, they looked so good. They were the big chocolate chip cookies from my dreams and five minutes into the cooling, I couldn’t wait anymore and had a bite of a cookie and it was hard as a rock. It felt like I was biting into a wooden board… Not good. The taste was barely shining through and I was so disappointed. I had burnt the cookies. My sister, the avid cooking show watcher, said it was a solid first attempt but I felt like it was a massive waste and disgrace. How can I immediately not be perfect at everything I do for the first time ever? The cookies weren’t good but I think my expectations for them were so high that not meeting them made the cookies taste worse. I think it’s so important while baking and just living life that we don’t set those mountain-high expectations for us to meet. Do you think Gordon Ramsay’s first batch of cookies he ever made was perfect? Let me tell you, it wasn’t. No shade to Gordon but he didn’t even know how to cook an egg at 20. But I make a really amazing fried egg so you never know, I could be the next Gordon Ramsay if I wanted to be but 100% not if I gave up after my first batch of cookies was a fail. Do you feel me?

2. Don’t trust Instagram

I should know better but I still get influenced very easily by the perfect life everyone on Instagram seems to be living. The cookie recipe I found on IG seemed to truly be the most beautiful looking cookies and the lady baking them looked like she had a perfect life. Maybe if I baked her cookies, I would have her perfect life too? Well, we all know how that turned out… I ended up with rock hard cookies and no rock hard abs. Don’t be like me, do your research! Once I did, I found out this recipe used way too much butter, obscene amounts of sugar and just was a total lie. I’m saying it again, everything on Instagram is fake! From perfect cookies to perfect bodies and perfect lives, it’s all a show. Don’t feel bad about your life when you see airbrushed models eating perfect looking salads and taking the cutest pictures, we all know they don’t look like that in real life. Even if they do, I promise you they’re not happy all the time.

3. Ask for help

On further research and a second attempt, I learned that the pros make it look too easy. When Gordon Ramsay says, “This is the easiest recipe in the world,” he means for himself, not for you. Start simple always. In life and with baking, ask for help… There is no shame. I spoke to my granny for 30 minutes before baking my third batch of cookies. She gave me a whole load of tips and tricks, like—first, powder the sugar, then mix in one egg at a time, also add salt to enhance the flavour, and about the temperature of butter at the beginning of baking matters… Basically, the things Gordon Ramsay just assumes, you know.

4. You don’t know what you don’t know

So this point might be a bit complicated but stick with me, okay? In life, there are four categories of things—things you know, things you don’t know, things you know you don’t know and things you don’t know you don’t know. For example, I know I love to eat cookies and I know I don’t know how to bake a cake from scratch. I didn’t know I knew I could draw similarities between baking and living life and I didn’t know that I didn’t know, that sugar was a wet ingredient.

Basically, the life lesson here is, you just have to go with the flow and figure stuff out along the way. You will never be fully prepared for a situation because while you might know what you’re getting into, you can’t truly know what you’re going to have to do until you’re in a specific situation. Some of my most successful moments in life have happened when I jumped into a situation I knew nothing about or had to fill in for someone at the last moment. It might seem a bit intimidating at first but try and see it as freeing. You can either succeed or fail but if you fail it’s completely okay because you did this thing for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. Next time, you will be better prepared.

5. Turn your anxiety into a challenge

Baking has gone from being one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences to a fun challenge that I’ve made my mission to conquer. Got me thinking to everything else in my life that gives me anxiety that I could rework in my brain to feel like a fun challenge I can beat. Work stress, societal pressures and my most recent anxiety being, meeting people because of the fear of them having corona can all be conquered.

As dumb as it might sound, watching people baking in movies and reading about people baking on rainy days felt like something out of a fairy tale. Actually baking made me realise that if you put your mind to it, change some things around to suit your needs, really anything is possible. While baking cookies seems like a small task, it wasn’t for me. Maybe something in your life right now feels like an extremely daunting task but once you get to it, I promise you’ll see that you can do it! Even if it does take you hours and hours and several failed attempts, you’re going to get your perfect cookie recipe down. And it’s fine if it takes you a long time, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic with cases of corona rising by the day, you’re going to have lots of time, I promise.

What was your first experience baking like? Let me know in the comments below!

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