In the flurry of predictable (yet beloved) holiday cards and letters, I received a petite, kind-yet-generic card from my career counselor. This was quite unexpected since I only saw her twice. And I recognize that it was a marketing strategy. But it made me very ruminative about the journey I have been on this year.
Last year, probably on this date, I sat in her office for my second and last visit, and was utterly disappointed with how little I felt I had gained from this kind-of-expensive service. But I took her advice nonetheless and started to reach out and explore the two fields I had narrowed my choices to: nutrition and legal stuff.
It would be a really nice easy package if I could say I followed nutrition to food, but I never do anything the easy way (that’s a warning, not a brag). I followed a few blind alleys, got frustrated and ultimately surfed disappointment in myself and seasonal affective disorder to food.
I’m not the very best friend (or human being) in the whole world. I do the best I can to support and love the people who support and love and stand by me. Last winter was hard on many people I care about. I doubt I was their only or their best crutch, but their pain seeped into me as I listened to friends struggle with divorces, unemployment, and the death of loved ones. I needed something to make me feel better, so I started reading wine books for the gorgeous pictures of the summer sun bathing ripening grapes.
I’ve got a bit of science under my belt, so I started dreaming about being an oenologist and living in those endless summer photographs. I talked myself out of that pretty quickly. Massachusetts just doesn’t seem like the place to be well-employed or well-compensated as an oenologist and I’m slowly accepting (and delighting in) that fact that I’m probably not leaving the northeast. But the beautiful fields got to me and I started thinking about farming. Which made me think about animals, which made me think about products and markets, which made me think about butchery, which wound up being the tipping point.
I was fascinated by what I found online and in print about being a butcher, about raising animals humanely, about high quality meat. With the lack of butchery classes here in MA, I started getting creative and exploring other parts of the meat system and the people I met at every bend in this rocky, crooked garden path have kept me interested and excited and ready to take the next step.
So here I sit, very close to the end of 2011 wondering what I have done and what good I can do in 2012. I have a full-time job. I am looking for a different one. I am working part-time, gratis, on a new farmer development resource growing out of a Massachusetts treasure – the New Entry Sustainable Farming Program out of Tufts. I have this blog (such as it is). I have my twitter account (such as that is). I have more friends than I did last year. I have more knives than I did last year. I have an opportunity to stage. I have a calm soul.
I have no idea what’s coming next year. I’m not even sure what to wish for, just more of the same (though I could do with out the deaths). I hope next year at this time I get some trigger to look back. I hope I have more friends again, and maybe better knives. I hope I am making people happy with food, and maybe making food possible for those who don’t always have it. I’m not going to try to figure it out. I’m taking whatever journey my calm soul leads.
Happy New Year.