Zest is an ingredient in cooking. It’s the outer peel of lemons, limes, or oranges that is scraped into the recipe for a touch of flavor.
Zest is a touch of flavor in your life, too. It can be a spicy taco, a spicy dance or a spicy date. It is an exhilarating walk in the woods, a witty conversation with another equally-intelligent person, or a sassy novel with a great plot or a great voice.
Zest is wearing your hair differently or throwing out that ten-year-old hat and trying a woven red one instead. It’s getting out of that hum drum, ho-hum existence. Maybe it’s stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different – going to an unfamiliar place instead of the same-old, same-old haunt, hearing a different band, wearing a different kind of outfit, going out with a person that doesn’t fit your “type,” like someone younger and unlike you — more serious, or someone hilarious.
Meet that new friend, go to that different kind of show, stay out later than usual, find a Tuesday place instead of staying home. Get tickets to the rocking new symphony with a friend, find a new town to explore, shop your grocery store in the opposite direction from your normal. You’ll see things you’ve never seen before. Maybe you’ll try a new food you’ve never tried before.
Zest is watching people and then striking up a conversation with a couple from a different generation. It’s telling a stranger you like her hat or having a conversation with a nine year old boy in the bathroom line.
“We’re all waiting in line here,” you say. “Unless it’s an emergency.”
“It’s not,” the boy says, sounding resigned to be at the back of the line.
The woman behind you turns and chuckles at the exchange. You could’ve stood there in silence as the boy cut in line. But instead you got zesty and engaged a child.
Yesterday you had a gorgonzola, bacon, and chicken pizza with your son. Zesty squared. He was thirty minutes late to the pizza place, and you spent thirty minutes learning about your zesty new phone.
Today you had a pesto vegetarian pizza with a new friend in a different town after two hours of dancing to a new-to-you band called PhD. They played cha cha, salsa, Santana and rock n roll. The sun was hot, the breezes were cool, and the usual suspects were all there, smiling because summer is on the way.
Not a typical Sunday in April, but isn’t that the point? On those gorgeous weather days, you’ve got to go out into the world and get some zest.