Expiration dates

I got trashed this weekend. Or, more accurately, some of my stuff got trashed. And all because my life appears to have hit the threshold for purposeful ignorance of the laws of life and death – expiration – as they relate to everything from food and cosmetics to career paths and life.


Apparently, refrigerated lemon juice goes bad within a month or two and should not be used after that point. That, according to every female family member of the generation preceding mine on my maternal side.

That put an end to my accusation that my mom tossed my lemon juice bottle without telling me.

I suppose this means I should start freezing the sweet-tart-acid in ice cube form from now on.

In related news, fresh vegetables have varying shelf lives. Potatoes, for instance, can last weeks, even a month or more. Squash and zucchini, on the other hand, start getting brown spots after between two and three weeks. Basil, unless vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag or frozen, starts wilting within days. Tomatoes should be used within one and two weeks.

Thank you, weekly farm share, for teaching me valuable lessons on what goes bad and when, aka the consequences of my culinary hesitation + small appetite + mom’s propensity for bringing home leftovers.


On the cosmetic front, I tossed my between-two-to-three-years-old Maybelline cover-up in Fawn shade after my older cousin – the only female in the combined group of nine – and favorite aunt told me gravely intoned that it had to go.

It was also leaking.


You see, I have a complete lack of understanding about anything relating to cosmetics and their practical application. The only related things I do are follow FDA regulations on tainted makeup and the history of cosmetic use as a tool to enforce beauty and gender norms.

This bias runs so deep that even as a child, I scorned and mocked Barbie dolls and all they stood for. I was more of a Polly Pocket girl myself.

But I’ve started to realize that I need to let some of this prejudice go because not only do I live and aspire to work in a world that does judge a book by its cover, but I also have taken this boycott to a certain extreme. What I mean is that I have rejected societal beauty norms so passionately and thoroughly that I haven’t really accepted the idea of myself as beautiful – I’ve drawn a line in the sand between my “natural beauty” and “superficial beauty,” yet admired the fictional and some public figure characters who seem to embody both.

Plus, as my aunts say, if it comes down to me and another candidate for a job, the more made-up (as in cosmetics, not lying) person will get it.


This is something I do not want to throw away, not give up, not lose hold of, not want to leave against my will. I refuse to literally and figuratively trash my life.

This is always on my mind, floating around somewhere, even when I’m focusing on work or conversation or cooking. Sometimes even when I’m reading, depending on how engrossed I am and what the characters are going through. The thought of life slipping away doesn’t incapacitate me, but it does induce a sort of panic – to not screw up this one life I have. Which must be why I am going over my needs and wants, my skills and failures, my dreams and step-by-step potential.

So while I don’t know what my literal expiration date will be, I do have control over how fresh I keep this life of mine. Therefore, I declare that while I still have it, it will not expire – it will thrive!

Now if only my garden vegetables could stay that way.

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