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  • KitchenBeard

Starting Over.... Again.

Well hello again old blog. Miss me? I'd explain my absence with a note but a new blog entry seems to be in order.

Like it has been for almost everyone, this past year was one for the record books for me. Professionally and personally I faced more challenges than I have in many years let alone than ever before. It was a struggle... to say the least.

I spent the first half of the year trying to get a catering business off the ground in the middle of the pandemic. It was going to be a hard task no matter what but the epidemic just made it harder. Eventually we just plain old ran out of funds and were unable to secure more funding forcing us to make the difficult choice to shut down operations. A few people know about this and the agonizing choice we had to make, but the money just never came in and rather than put ourselves deeper into debt, we chose to cease operations. The company still exists and we’re going to continue as business owners, just not in the way we planned. It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had but owning the company made it glorious. I’m decidedly proud of what we did even if it didn’t work out like we had hoped. And I can't thank Eric enough, not just for being my business partner, but for being a great friend. If I miss anything about the catering company, it's the talking to him everyday.

In the spring I began to exhibit some signs of respiratory trouble. I got out of breath at the drop of a hat and combined with a mask and trying to hustle while cooking, there were a few scary moments. I had a bunch of tests done and I was diagnosed with a mild form of heart failure that is genetically based... they think. Additionally, I have a heart defect called “lack of diastolic relaxation” which basically means that my heart will clench to push blood out and then quite literally, skip a beat by not relaxing to let new blood in. The result is that my blood is often starved for oxygen leaving me gasping for breath. I’m fine and the doctor said we just need to keep an eye on it and he asked me to make some changes in my diet and exercise. I’ve got an inhaler that I use daily and that’s been a tremendous help with being able to breathe.

After shutting down the catering company, I pivoted quickly and found a job with a firm in Russian Hill and started June 1st. I won’t say here what went wrong, but it was clear by the middle of September that I had made a big mistake. The job consumed me fully and by the end of October I was so stressed out that the above mentioned heart problem began to show signs of getting worse. Many of the things I needed to do for the catering company (such as selling off the assets) still haven’t been done because I simply didn’t have the energy to do it. I wasn’t sleeping and I was more than miserable. If you want to know the details, buy me a cup of coffee and we’ll talk, but I’m not going to broadcast what happened all over the internet. I left the company less than 6 months after starting just to save my sanity and health. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks sleeping and eating and cooking (and let's be honest, drinking) and trying to recover from the last year and find myself again.

That’s not to say that whole year has been 100% awful. As you’ve seen, I’ve put in a lot of work on this house and made my household into one that is radically different from what it has been. It's no longer just a place to live but now to me at least, genuinely feels like a home. My two housemates have played a big role in creating a place of refuge for me. We cook and eat together almost every night. We keep fresh flowers in the house. We make each other laugh. I’m so very grateful for both of them.

One night as I was coming home from work, I found a full set of formal china on the street that I took home. Posting about this on FB spawned an avalanche of generosity from others as they sent me their silver sets, their crystal goblets and their grandmother's flatware sets. This has been so much fun and I suddenly find myself with a fully formal dinner service set and at least four sets of flatware. I literally have no more room for formal dishes. I got to use some of it for a dinner party and then again at Thanksgiving before things got scary again, which just thrilled me to pieces. Once things open up again, you can be assured there will be lots and lots of dinner parties.

So what’s next?

Aside from feeling like I'm starting from scratch (AGAIN!), I’m not entirely sure. I just know that I’m keenly focused on taking care of myself better and finding a job that will make me happy. I may not go back to Office Management and instead take a low key job that will give me the mental bandwidth to get certified as a Salesforce Administrator so I can potentially earn more doing something I know I’m already good at. I've been looking at going back to nonprofit and I'm looking at getting back to food... somehow. It's all very tenuous and very up in the air but, with work and dedication, I'll figure it out. I always do. I'll be writing here more I hope and getting back to doing the stuff that gives me joy. Cooking. Photography. Gardening. Being with friends.

And that's what living is about, isn't it?

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