Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Need To Find My Passion

The other night I was having a stuck in front of the TV moment (for a few hours), and I found myself watching a semi-new show on the TLC network, The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom. It's a show about Stay At Home Moms (SAHMs), who have given up a career or dream to stay at home to raise their kids. Hosted by Tracy Gold of Growing Pains fame, the show arranges opportunities for the SAHMs to "sneak" away from their mom duties to spend some time exploring their dream. The show that aired this week was about a woman who was a chef at a 5 star resort, who became pregnant shortly after getting married. Now with 2 adorable boys at home, she is given the opportunity to prove to herself that she can still make it in a fast paced restaurant and can still create imaginative dishes.

So a few of you may know that during the dot come bust, I took that opportunity of life throwing me a curve ball and went to culinary school. Granted, I returned to the high tech world as a contractor while I was in school, I also took on a number of catering jobs and eventually landed a job at a 4 start resort in Berkeley. I also won a few catering gigs on my own where I prepared wedding cakes, dessert displays and food for cocktail parties. While I loved all of these jobs working with food, I found that I lost the desire to cook at home, and guess what? the joy of the job didn't make up for the low pay scale.

Eventually I went back to high tech full time, while continuing the resort job cooking on the lunch crew on the weekends. This gave me the best of both worlds, high tech pay (to pay off that freakishly high culinary school tuition) while still keeping my foot in the kitchen. But there was another catch.... no free weekends and holidays leads to a very tired cranky girl, and a lonely boyfriend. While the money covered the mortgage, bills and loans and allow the soon-to-be-husband pursue his dream job, I was too tired to enjoy life. So 2 years ago I quit all of my professional cooking jobs and returned to subjecting my co-workers to my experiments, cooking elaborate celebration meals, and finding the time to cook at least one really good home cooked meal a week.

Do you see where this is going?

So as I sat and watched this woman mess up, stress out, and then finally find her groove in the kitchen, full of re-gained confidence in her abilities, I cried (sobbed really). Sure she cried as well throughout her journey and facing her decision of giving up her dreams in the kitchen but I cried as I discovered that I'm not ok with where I am. I haven't felt a loss exactly, and I haven't really wanted to go back to either catering or restaurant work, but mostly I have been feeling numb since I left the business. My husband recently asked me if I feel passionate about anything, and I recall saying no, but now I realize when that numbness settled in. It was when I regained my weekends.

My life was no longer AS crazy as it was. Back then I had to remain incredibly organized and everything was structured and in its place, but when I decided I needed time to relax everything sort of fell apart. My finances haven't been as controlled, the house is a disarray, and low and behold... I think I'm more finicky in general and demanding of Eric.

I had resigned myself to being numb and letting my passion find me by chance, but after seeing my reaction the other night I want to get out there, reign it in, tie it up and never let it go again. I need to find the passion I felt so strongly those few years ago. Whether the passion is in food, or in cleaning the toilet, I want to feel it again. I want to have passion in my life, passion for life, passion about life.


Angie said...

Great post, Cherry. There are a lot of women out there with this exact feeling.

Finding/living your passion is very time consuming, but so rewarding, despite all the times you doubt yourself!

Good luck on this journey and allow yourself to figure it out in your own time.

Have a great day.

Beenzzz said...

Lovely post, indeed! I was feeling all out of sorts not being in school. It gave me structure! I'm relieved and excited at the prospect of going back. I hope you find the passion for life again too. I am so in awe that you went to culinary school. I can only imagine how exciting it must be to create elegant and delicious meals. It is truly one of the most important art forms out there!

Autumn's Mom said...

I know exactly how you feel. I feel mine slowly coming back...being a mom to five kids is IT for me. I was talking to J yesterday about how I do like coming home and getting to my jammies but I see my future as staying in my work clothes and carting kids to soccer and softball and friends houses. And that makes me smile more than anything :)

Cheers to passion!

Starshine said...

I think living with passion is important. I'm looking forward to hearing about how you make a place for your passions again in your life. :) and hugs!

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I hope you can find a way to make both your passion and the realistic stuff balance each other out. There's no reason why one has to be passionate about their job, just be passionate about SOMETHING, and go after that with all you've got.

I've seen the ads for that show, though I haven't watched it yet. I always think it looks like they're showing the woman what her life would have been like had she made it to the top of her game. But so many folks never make it beyond middle management level stuff... I just don't want SAHMs to think they've given up the DREAM in order to raise their kids, when there's always the depressing possibility that the DREAM career might not have worked out perfectly, either.

Karen MEG said...

Hey Cherry, I loved this post. And I love that you have renewed interest in the whole concept of "passion". It's easy to get into a certain groove in life, and let things go status quo; it just seems easier. But you are fortunate that you have had a taste of that passion with your culinary experiences...it's tough, from what I've seen (I have a friend who went to culinary school and was a chef ... currently on mat leave, ironically), a gruelling profession on all with the long hours, the egos, the stress of the immediacy of everything, but especially women who are even thinking about having a family.
I haven't caught that show yet; I don't know if I want to. I'm not sure if I've really acknowledged that I am indeed a soccer mom; with a tippy-toe in the consulting business, I know it's not what I would be if I didn't have children. But now, I know that being a Director/VP of Big Company is just not in the cards for me; any time soon, or more likely never.

Love Bears All Things said...

Sometimes it just ain't about the money.
Mama Bear

Amers said...

Cherry, glad to hear you're on the path again... it will be interesting to see where it leads you. And if you're lacking in recipients for your tasty treats, I'm always a happy guinea pig!

Py Korry said...

I hear ya, sister. I felt that way when I gave up my career in education. I'm enjoying my new gig, but I'm not that passionate about it -- and I'm not even a Soccer Mom. :-)

Gina said...

You go girl, do what you feel will make you happy!

C said...

Wow! What a great post, Cherry! Very thought provoking! I know how you feel. You go, girlfriend! ;) Here's to finding that thing (or those things) that make you passionate and happy! xo

I've missed reading your blog! A week in the Dominican Republic and a few days in Kingston (and a day and a half in Toronto) = LOTS of catching up to do on my fave blogs!!!