Karen Lomas
July 22, 2013

Should I enter MasterChef?

Actually I have no intention whatsoever of doing so, however my daughter keeps telling me that I should compete in a tv cookery competition just because I’m a half decent cook. Really, as if I don’t tell myself enough times in the day things like, “Karen, you really should do something about the fact that there’s something growing in the back of the laundry cupboard”, I have a nagging little voice saying, “Mum, enter Masterchef, you know you want to!”Actually I seriously can think of nothing worse than running around trying to find fresh produce in the dark, and then trying to make something out of a combination of mushrooms and icing sugar. I spent years in the hospitality industry and watching the tv competition makes me shudder. It takes me right back to chefs yelling obscenities or playing nasty tricks on their poor young apprentices, and to guests going purple with rage at the absence of sugar-free Alpen on the breakfast buffet. And so my rejoinder is this; Just because I could, doesn’t mean I should! Not sure it will quieten the nagging, but this is my position and I’m sticking firmly to it.

If you were to count up the number of times somebody; your parents, teachers, boss, coach said “you should…” you might well lose track by afternoon recess. It’s no wonder young people are suffering from anxiety. While it is clearly important to keep track of your personal belongings, get to class on time and brush your teeth, there is no earthly reason why just because half your class is applying to do Science at Melbourne University you should do the same. I have every bit of due admiration for people who are successful in the hospitality industry, and for those who genuinely want to study Law or Commerce at a highbrow university, however contrary to the belief of many, not least careers practitioners at many schools, it’s not for everyone.

It was post Freudian Karen Horney who coined the phrase ‘The Tyranny of the Shoulds’. She was referring to the neurotic striving for perfection that plagues so many of us, and becomes part of our constant self chatter that can prevent us getting to sleep at night, or in being able to switch off and concentrate on a good movie.

We are fed messages by the media that tell us that the best hope of happiness can be gained by having an iPhone 5, or a 6 bedroom, 4 bathrooom McMansion. And if you’re on Facebook and bombarded with images of people looking beautiful and having fun at a party, it’s sure to cause you to compare your weekend, life, potential future with those others, never mind that they’ve probably got some nasty transmittable disease from “hooking up” with 7 different hotties all night.

I’m not saying the media and social networking is evil, in fact I actually really quite like Facebook for the funny cats. But the trick is not to buy into the notion that you need to be living identikit lives, or conforming to a particular image, or behaviour. Remember too that old adage about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. That’s what’s called ‘miswanting’; if you take things on face(book) value and assume that the status, the university attending, the party hosting, the Louis Vuitton owning, the fake turf laying equates to happy, then you might be missing something.

I sure as heck do not need 3 greedy fat blokes telling me that my dough is dense.

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