Well, readers, it has been 52 weeks since I lost my job in the Interior Design industry. 52 weeks. One whole year. Neocon is next week and for the first time in six years I will NOT be attending. There will be no running and hiding from ANY former employers, no cocktails at 1 pm or late nights at the Hang Up. I wont get to see the new cubicle lines debuting, or what the trends in green design will be for 2010. Am I sad about this? A little.
I had all the best intentions of writing something profound today… you know, something that would wrap up this last year in a few words so that you (and I) could walk away from it with some sense of fulfillment. Here’s what I came up with: Don’t cry over burnt cheese sauce. Oh yes, my friends. I’m serious.
The other night I decided to make broccoli mac and cheese from scratch. I love to cook, and I even consider myself an above average cook. I mean, I know how to make a roux, I can make my own vinagrettes, I have an herb garden and a fairly exotic palatte. So, with confidence, I gathered my ingrediants and got to work. Now, as we all know, I live with my parents and they (unfortunately) have an electric stove top. I prefer gas, as most cooks do, because you have more user control, but I had no other option than to crank that electric burner on high and hope my sauce would boil.
So I wisked away, switched burners, tried to keep the temp at medium heat but was unsuccessful and all of a sudden my suace was foaming up like an expoded carbonated beravage. I thought to myself, “shit, this is ruined.” But I kept stirring, until the foam dispersed and was replaced with a creamy cheese sauce filled with huge chunks of burnt milk and cheese. I stopped stirring and had a moment of panic. The pasta was cooked, the brocooli was ready, and now I had a glob of burnt sauce. I was mad. I was tempted to cry and stomp out of the kitchen and yell at my parents for not having the foresight to buy a GAS stove (I must admit my dear mother did suffer some mild verbal abuse).
A few minutes passed and I didn’t cry or scream or toss 16 ounces of pasta away. You know what I did do? I started over. I poured some milk in a new pan, added some flour, brought it to a slow simmer and added my cheddar and pameson. It was perefect. Done and done.
So, the moral of this story is that all you can ever do is start over. All you can ever do is perservere. Try again. Try 123 times, and when you get another rejection letter or a terribly insulting monetary offer you just keep going. Yes, you can get mad, you can yell and cry (as I have many, MANY times), but in the end all you can do is just keep trying.
And that is what I have learned this year.
In the past I used to get angry, I would yell and I would give up on a job or a person and then that job or relationship would fall apart. I would storm through the gates DEMANDING change, and when it didn’t happen I would storm through some other gate and DECLARE I was done. This worked for me on some level, but this year, that stopped working. As angry or fed up as I became with my circumstances, everytime I said “I give up,” or “I’m done” nothing happened! Nothing changed! No one appeared from the mist and said, I’m sorry you’re fed up, let me help you. It just doesn’t work that way.
Only when I kept going, kept trying… did things happen. Maybe the eventual outcomes were not as perfect as my second batch of cheese sauce, but if I keep trying maybe someday they will be. And if not… well I guess I just have to keep trying.
This year, I have learned patience. Resilience. Humility. How to start again, and again… and again. It’s something I needed to learn. And I ended up with some damn good mac and cheese because of these lessons!