The American doesn’t eat tomatoes. Not on pizza, not in pasta, no tomato sauce – nothing. Anything red results in nose wrinkling and the look of a cornered animal about to be shot and skinned. Not even my irresistible puppy-face can convince otherwise.

And this is a bit of a problem in our relationship. Because I love them. And it’s about the only fruit that I will actually eat. And since the American doesn’t eat much meat, the dinners I can make are limited. As far as I am concerned, all the tastiest vegetarian meals contain tomato.

The American subscribes to my blog (because it’s important to know what I do on the internet) and will read this, so Dear American (and all other tomato haters), please consider the below.

A tomato is a pretty thing.

A solitary tomato looking good on its own

It’s red and shiny and looks great in a crowd.

Tomato and friends - still very attractive

It looks like a marijuana plant without the fruit.

Even the pre-tomato is good looking

It’s versatile in its uses.

Even dehydrated it still manages to be attractive

It contains vitamins and prevents scurvy. I read somewhere that it increases the natural sun defence of human skin. And I know people who drink it as a hangover cure. It contains anti-oxidant goodness. So combined with the sun protection is likely the fountain of youth, if only people would consume more of it.


The Young Professional

So, I work. I’m a young professional at the cusp of my career… And while I never thought I would do what I am doing, I love it and it’s taking over my life.

It's either or...

A day in my life starts with my alarm going off and me hitting snooze for about half an hour. But, reader, it’s cold out there and R50.00 excluding VAT says you are doing the same. Then it’s coffee, shower and off to the office for that hour and a half of silence and concentration before business officially opens (I have had phone calls at 07:30 though). And then the flood gates open and I’m rushed off my feet for the next eight hours. Then I hang around for another half hour or so, because, well, your business is important to me, and I will get you what you want.

Dear coffee: Thank You!

Like many of my peers and colleagues, I don’t take lunch. I eat at my desk, and I take calls with my mouth full. It’s a good thing people like to talk, or else I would never get the chance to chew. I have become a master of multitasking, and can type up an e-mail completely unrelated to the phone call I stupidly took. So, in case you were wondering, I’m fine, thanks, and it’s freaking great that your Bulldog is okay after her operation. And I’ll send you that document in… hey, what do you know, it’s on its way right now. Do you have it? Great, goodbye.

Dear phone: I hate you!

Once I get home, I need to eat again. That means dinner for one, or sometimes dinner for five – because leftovers are great to take with the next day and eating the same thing two days in a row is a serious time saver.

Unlike other single, working people, I actually cook for myself. And not just two-minute noodles (I lost interest in those in the first three months of university), I’m talking about minimum two vegetables and some protein. Or pizza. I don’t do microwave dinners, I’m not paying money for something that smells like a wet dog when it’s ‘ready’, that is packed with sodium and is mostly made out of recycled cardboard and dye. Over the years I have become a decent cook, I have made amazing things with whatever is in the kitchen, and I’ve had some failures that have resulted in me needing to throw pots away. But 90% of the time, I’m eating okay and keeping those energy levels up for the next day.

Thank you for your interest in my body, but I'm taking my nutritional needs elsewhere

I will then collapse into bed, with a book I’m too tired to focus on and read the same chapter three times before deciding it’s late and going to sleep.

Sometimes, I will have work functions. And these will drag on well past my bed time and I’ll watch people drink heavily and network with them, even though they will never remember who I actually am.

Sometimes, I can take a friend to work functions. These go on until the early hours of the morning too, but at least I have decent conversation that extends beyond soccer and weather (honestly, is there NOTHING else to chat about?).

And that is how I spend my evenings.

Catching Z's is awesome

Some of my friends are married, living with their lovers or in serious relationships. And I need to know – how do they do it?

I barely have time for myself, but these guys are making time for another (every single day), getting their laundry done and producing meals that put mine to shame. They stay happy and connected, sometimes nauseatingly so, and I’m proud of them – high five, guys, you have superior time management skills! I currently don’t even have the time to date.

Before I blink again, it’s Friday and then I blink again and it’s Monday.

So, sure, I spend a large chunk of my weekends working. And sure, I’m really busy all the time. But that’s what it’s like being a working person. Relationships get neglected and recreation becomes a thing of the past.

One thing I do know is that I am luckier than most.

I love my job. I have a passion for my industry. A lot of people my age are miserable in their careers and desperate for something new – but it’s tough times for business, so they stick it out and become increasingly miserable. But not me, my exhaustion and routine make me happy.

And that is the life of this young professional in 750 words!

The Young Professional