And then, this spring, I hit a wall. I began to feel really isolated and lonely, and dreaded each day as they came, another one spent at home, in my own thoughts. By the time Kevin would get home from work, I was a pent up ball of conversation, dying for human interaction. “HOW WAS YOUR DAY WHAT’D YOU DO DID YOU EAT LUNCH ARE YOU HUNGRY THE BACHELORETTE IS ON TONIGHT.” I would bounce around him while he smiled wearily and made his way to the couch.
As the weeks ticked by, it wasn’t just working from home that was wearing me down, it was my life in general. I was ready for a change. I was beginning to feel that itch. Here’s the thing about these realizations: they’re terrifying. As someone who likes to feel in control, it is essentially my worst nightmare to wake up and realize the hard work isn’t over (shh, I know the hard work is never over).
During one particular conversation with my mom, she said something that really stuck. Allow yourself to daydream. Let your mind wander. It’s really tempting to put horse blinders on during transition periods, to work towards whatever goal you have set for yourself, but sometimes, in doing so, you miss out on a little side path that could take you somewhere wonderful. I pocketed the advice and went back to wallowing.
Fast forward to about a month ago, and a new restaurant opened in our small town. I immediately fell in love with it — its mission, its food, its vibe (see my review here). One night, over wine, I joked to my friends, “God, I would love to work in that kitchen.” But the second I said it, it was a thought planted in my head, and I returned to it again and again. I realized, over the next few days, that I was daydreaming about it. I’ve always loved cooking, and the idea of getting out of the house, away from my laptop, and outside of my head was so appealing that it basically had me salivating. With writing, you can never be done. You can tweak and edit all day and still never feel satisfied. With cooking, you have to decide, at some point, that you’re happy with the final product, and then you serve it, and it’s eaten, and it’s gone.
So, three or four days a week, I’m in the kitchen, chopping, dicing, sautéing, baking, washing, stirring, tasting. I make pierogies and buttermilk panna cotta and huge trays of slow roasted tomatoes. I come home after a long day and face plant into bed, still smelling like garlic and butter and pea risotto. I’m equally exhausted as Kevin now, and together we drink cold beers and stare off into space for a solid hour before catching up and making dinner and watching a movie.
The best part, though, is that this job has opened doors. I think about writing a cookbook, or starting a catering business, or even creating an app for 20-something home cooks. It would have never occurred to me otherwise, or if I hadn’t taken those daydreams seriously.
“You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout, ‘I made it!’” — Amy Poehler
Anyone else experience a transition recently? What helped you get through it? Or are you in the middle of it now? Share, if you feel like it.