In the two weeks since Scott and I returned from our honeymoon, I’ve been feeling a little lost. For so many months, my energy and focus was directed towards making everything come together for September 26th that once the day was past, I felt a little uncertain, directionless. I realize that this is a common feeling for newly married women who put lots of energy into their weddings, but I somehow I thought that since ours was a small wedding, I’d be able to avoid the post-nuptial blues. I was wrong.
The way it manifested for me was through feelings of hopelessness. I began to feel like this basket in which I put so many of my career hopes, the one labeled food writer/teacher, was so very, very misguided. Watching all the other food writers and bloggers out there, I questioned what exactly it was that I brought to the table. I couldn’t remember why I had once felt that I had anything to offer and started to nurture a belief that I was shamefully out of my league.
Last Thursday, I went to a chocolate, wine and cheese tasting put on by The Food Trust, and for a while, that experience buoyed me. I talked about food, canning and issues around the way we eat and for awhile, I shed the hopelessness and reconnected with my excitement. But in the last few days, it’s slipped away again (admittedly, a really miserable 4-day jury duty experience this week didn’t help things).
I realize that I’m going to get through these feelings. And I know (at least, most of the time) that in the world of food writing, I bring a number of really wonderful things to the table. However, I also recognize that in this era of closing magazines and newspapers, the options for people who want to deal with food and words in equal measure are scant. Beyond that, I just don’t know.
What do the rest of you do when you find yourselves in a place like this?
I have these feelings often about music and whatever’s left of music criticism as a career, particularly now that so much of it has gone tabloid. I usually try to withdrawal a bit from the ‘music world’ and focus on other areas of interest, whether it’s beer or the Phillies and try to renew my love for my chosen career path.
Easier said than done, but it’s cyclical.
I can’t necessarily speak to the food writing piece of your plight, though I do think most of us cycle through various phases of inadequacy or pseudo-worthlessness (trust me, I’m there now) at whatever it is we do. But I am completely with you on feeling ’empty’ after the blizzard of wedding planning abruptly halts – it’s been a year and a half and I’m still there! So you let me know when/if you want to pick up a hobby together – pottery painting anyone? 🙂
I’m so sorry for your blues right now. I hope this will pass and you’ll see that you do fill a great niche in the world of food. It’s awesome to see someone young who is making preserving food cool to a new generation!
I understand the feeling down, if my reasons are rather silly and slight. All I do is blog about foolish nothings, but my job right now is making me CRAZY and ANGRY and filling up all my old free time, so each night it gets harder and harder to find something positive to talk about.
Let’s say it together: This, too, shall pass.
I was you in opposite. Anything that could go wrong did while I was planning the wedding. I at one point pondered how much it would cost to be drunk until the day of the wedding.
It seems silly now that I’m typing it but when I’m feeling hopeless and disconnnected I do crossword puzzles and I color in a grown up coloring book that I bought on Amazon. So I suppose I keep my mind active doing other creative things for a while.
seriously why dont you take up the phila food history project and morph it into the phila museum of food….i cant do it from florida…i’m too busy doing almost nothing…..its a great idea and project and even in this economy i dont think it would be that difficult to get funded. email me for ideas.
Ann Marie’s idea sounds ideal for you, but I wonder how much funding you’d be able to get for your research, etc. to hold you over until the idea became profitable.
I think if I were in your shoes and I absolutely had to do something else, I’d try getting a job in some sort of food emporium — as a buyer or events coordinator, etc. I’m always frustrated that I can’t find what I want at the food store. I’ve often wondered why they don’t have someone doing cooking demonstrations using new or recently available items or items that are wonderful, but not big sellers — oyster plant, cardoons, mirin, lemon grass, etc. I can remember going from place to place to find panko just a few years ago. If they’d made a niche in the store for new ingredients and someone to coordinate recipes and demonstrations, it would certainly attract my attention. You could write 8-10 page recipe books to sell for a few dollars with the ingredients.
Belated congratulations on your wedding!
Those hills and valleys are just part of any career arc. An older friend used to quote Faulkner to me when I was in a valley: “endure.” Sometimes going through the motions, even when it just feels like going through the motions is enough to get past the rough spot. Sometimes, as other people have said, you find a corollary to what you are doing and develop new skills — consulting on other food sites, whether retail, cookbook, etc.
Last time I was in a real lull I took up blogging. 😉
I don’t have any advice, just warm thoughts. May the blues soon turn to other colors.
I can’t tell you how many people I know have shared this experience, particularly women. Know that it’s a funny thing that happens, that it goes away, that it takes a while to discover just who you are inside this new-spun world. I like that you wrote about it here. Not many people do.
I just love you all! Thanks to each one of you for taking the time to thoughtfully share where you are and to help bolster me. I feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful friends (whether I know you in person or not).
My plan is to keep chugging along and to do my best to talk myself into good ideas instead of talking myself out of them.
I’ve always viewed you as someone who got into the food/canning thing at just the right time. I think your voice is unique and you are a fine writer. What’s distinctive to me about your approach to food is that it is more intellectual/history-focused than most. I think you are in the process of defining/refining what you most want to focus on and of course it’s scary and uncertain because your path isn’t exactly like anyone else’s.
Magazines and newspapers may be closing but the future of content and of discussing food is far from over. People love to talk about, think about, read about food. That’s not going anywhere. Just keep doing what you are doing the rest will fall into place.