Friday, December 30, 2016
As I hinted in my last posts 2017 will be a year of change and with the end of year looming, I always find myself reflecting. The years since my last blogposts have been turbulent: in parallel to getting divorced I changed jobs and took a position that I was overqualified for. At the time, i thought it was an opportunity but in hindsight the combination of that, low self-esteem, bad dating experiences, a bad manager and lack of recognition led to a nervous breakdown in 2013.
I was lucky that several friends who saw the signs early and convinced me to go on sick leave early in the process. I'm still grateful for that as therefore the consequences were limited and with support from professionals and friends I gradually returned to work, felt better about myself, got recognition and this culminated in a new professional opportunity in October 2015.
This job met my expectations and ambitions in so many ways; level of responsibility, part of small department but wider project team, a supportive manager, an inspirational project leader, improving patient lives and lots and lots of science. I enjoyed the challenge, made progress, contributed, realised I was good at it despite the ever increasing workload (chronic understaffing). At the same time, I realised I was still unfulfilled for many reasons; long hours were one, but more importantly was the detailed level of knowledge required. I had not been in a situation like this since i my time in academic research, when it was a topic I was fascinated by but I left because I didn't have a burning question I wanted to solve/dedicate my career to. Here I was again, expected to gain knowledge, read papers and be at the scientific forefront but on a subject that, though relevant, didn't interest me to get that deep into.
In parallel, I have always had the wish to explore working with food. I've been cooking for as long as I can remember with my family and friends, working in hospitality at university, writing this blog, tested recipes for cookbooks and been on the verge of starting a venture a few times.
So when the opportunity came to potentially help out a friend next summer season at a small place that does not involve much financial commitment the decision was easily made. Sometimes I feel it's a strange manifestation of a midlife crisis being late thirties, single and with no kids. On the other hand, it is a very conscious decision, at a point in my life where I am confident in myself, can afford to take a calculated risk and have the change to live a lifelong dream. Details still have to be sorted out, it may all fall through, but I hope not and am resolved to document my experience, the process, my thoughts and some images here for myself and anyone who's interested. Have a good end to 2016 and looking forward what next year will bring....