A Year-ish in Recipes

It’s been pretty quiet around here the last couple of weeks.  It’s hard to post things to the interwebs without internet access.  For that reason I'm generally the most loyal regular at the Starbucks on First Street around this time of year but it’s even harder to justify sitting in a coffee shop for hours on end when you could and should be idling away the hours with the family members that you see a mere 3-4 times a year.  Home time is never particularly productive but this extra long stint has been particularly aimless.  Instead of hustling to the closest wi-fi equipped cafe day after day I've been lazily waking up to snow every morning and taking full advantage of a legitimate excuse to forget about my inbox for awhile.  The only downside is the knowing that when I touch down in SF tomorrow I'll find myself standing at the base of a proverbial flat-faced vertical cliff affectionately known as January.  

Been reading a lot of year in review posts and fumbling around with some of my own but I’m in agreement with many of you and with what seems to be the sentiment of social media as a whole: 2016 kinda sucked.  I’m certainly a-okay to see it go so why rehash it?  Some sweet high points for sure but on the whole it was a stressful and particularly expensive year.  Maybe we just flip back through some favorite recipes and leave it at that.

Did you make resolutions?  I think one year my list of New Years resolutions topped out at a whopping 34.  Thirty.  Four.  I’m not sure what I was thinking.  Or if I ultimately accomplished any of them.  I know I eyed that list with tenacity and optimism thinking I knew so much about life and who I was, what I wanted and where I was going.  I knew nothing.  Next to nothing at least. 

As the years fly by, the more I realize how very little I know and how much more productive it can be to have an open hand to possibility rather than a clenched fist around dead-set plans.  So in recent years the number of new years resolutions has dwindled from a lengthy detailed list to a handful of hopes of my heart and mental notes.  

This year I’ve "resolved" to apologize less.  During recent negotiations on a job a photographer friend pointed out our propensity as women to apologize for things that need no apology.  It’s like selective perception.  I’m now keenly aware to how often not only I but also my friends preface their thoughts with apologies.  I’d like to not do that so much in 2017.  

I’d like to be a more responsive friend, a less self-conscience listener, and for Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” to queue up in my mind every time I’m tempted to flip someone off on the road (which is often.)  

For the first time since moving to the city over 7 years ago I’m actually open to leaving it.  It’s an unexpected and unfamiliar place that has left me feeling oddly adrift.  What I’m actually experiencing is likely just a severe case of green grass syndrome coupled with chronic nausea over my ridiculous rent.  Whatever it is I’d like to resolve to be all in or all out.  This one foot in each camp thing isn’t getting any of us anywhere.  

They say that those that put pen to paper with their goals are far more likely to actually achieve them.  And I will keep doing that.  

Instead of being excited to welcome a new year which I always, always am, I’m actually kind of afraid to look.  Thanks to this past year I’m digging my heels in a bit at 2017.  I want to count on something really incredible happening this year.  Something that changes things up.  But a new year doesn’t guarantee a new anything and I think that’s what I’m most afraid of.  More brave little toastering around the city in survival mode when I’m just not all that brave.  Hope deferred.  Hope so spent that I actually titled my New Years Resolutions “Entirely Pointless Goals for 2017.”  Yikes.  Must have been a particularly discouraging day.  

So, in no particular order, my New Years Resolutions of a more quantifiable nature (many of which really are likely just pipe dreams since there are only 24 hours in a day) are:

  1. To take up knitting again and make my close-knit community some seriously gorgeous cashmere throws for Christmas next year.
  2. Write up a business plan for the purchase of this sweet little existing bakery back home.  Have an attorney and accountant review the financial statements and purchase agreement.  
  3. Start laying plans to transition out of the city, bakery or no bakery, by 2019.
  4. Cut my expenses, get a roommate, set a clothing budget, market the hell out of myself as a food stylist and save every dime I can.
  5. Stop telling myself that I'm too old, that my ass could be higher, my goals loftier (and the achievement of them closer), and that it's too late to start something new.
  6. Create an online food styling for social media course.
  7. Commit to learning my camera and take my photography know-how to the next level.

There's about 20 more in an open document right now where the ones above are outlined in more detail but I feel like you get the picture, right?

What did happen this year?  Plenty.  I started a new business.  Again.  It's been exactly one year.  We all know that statistically most small businesses will fail in the first year.  The next few months will be telling but somehow I've managed to keep my head above water in what is arguably the most expensive city in the country.  I traveled a bit but mostly plowed most everything I made back into my business shelling out for new equipment, new knowledge, new tools and programs.  I invested a lot of time here and flipping back through recipes for this post has been so much fun. 

I'll be ringing in the New Year from the lavish and quiet comfort of home this year.  No new cocktail dress, expensive Uber ride, or hangover required.  With snow slated to start falling around 5pm it'll be pajamas, mugs of hot water, and an early trip to the airport in the morning.  I half expected to be feeling the FOMO right about now but I don’t.  At all.  And that’s pretty telling.  For all that the year has been and for whatever this coming year holds, I’m thankful for this current state of mind. I hope 2016 treated you well and that you’re as ready to welcome 2017 as much as I am.  Happiest New Year to you.  Very good things are ahead. 

Abby StolfoComment