Motivation will fail you.
Passion will wain.
Exhaustion sets in, insecurities gain traction, irrelevant comments take up space in your mind – circling, biting, gnawing at the marrow of your silly school age”passion”. The handful of grandiose things that pushed me through culinary school, that got me through those all nighters and 12 hour labs (that in reality, would be considered a nice social aspect of life now), have become faded. It’s hard to maintain motivation as an accelerator, when you pressed the pedal to it’s extent in a few short years.
The unsettling realization that the spark I used to feel every single day will not last, has put me in a hollow place, creatively. I would feel overwhelmed before, scribbling at my chef notebook because the ideas came faster than my hands could write, not being able to sleep because my mind whirled with possibilities of what food could taste like, look like, represent.
I’ve slept like a baby for months now.
Let me clarify – my job is incredible, and I’m an extremely blessed person to have the one I do. A small cafe with a group of people who care, a boss that not only lets me create, but encourages it, a boss that isn’t a boss, but a mentor. Food ethics that shine in everything we do, local pride, seasonality; if it’s past two days old get that shit out of the cooler.
It isn’t mine though; it isn’t my dream, or my creation, or my idea. It’s a beautiful one, but not mine. It’s easy to get lost in day dreams, but easier to get lost in just the days. Comfort is a luxurious blanket, but it can suffocate too. Motivation may pull you out from underneath for a day, may trigger a cool idea that could work in the near, possible, sort of future if you kinda thought about trying. You’ll be asleep in another two days though, at most. Will is stronger, will keeps you out from the blanket no matter how tired, cold, or hungry you are.
Rely on will. Practice it, strengthen it. Let it keep you trudging through, looking past the onslaught of ‘days’, until you find a tiny flame. And if someone judges the flame you choose to pour gasoline on?
Light that shit on fire – it’s kindling.
Find people, places, and things that keep your mind on that pesky passion, no matter how small they may seem. Cook your own damn dinner for God’s sake. Buy cool ingredients that you’ve never worked with before. Start a blog because you’re having an existential crisis and need mass reassurance that you aren’t lame just because you aren’t a sous chef in Los Angeles yet. Anything that keeps you annoyingly focused. If you’re reading this, you’re following my version of that – for whatever reason – and that’s appreciated. For anyone that is going through the same issue – Culinary peer or not, get up.
Embrace opportunities, put on your whites, and go.
Photos are from a recent catering, 3.5.17 – the opening of Presents of Presence, by Thom Gallup. Currently on display at Sawhorse Cafe(Williamsport, PA)
…and so it begins…