I realize that, a few months from now, the entire context of my life, as I've known it for the last four and a half years, is going to disappear. I'm going to have to reinvent myself, start over; base my life on…something else. A tremendous opportunity, I suppose. And at the same time, overwhelming to the point of inducing paralysis. Even now, I'm feeling the frayed ends of my life starting to flap in the breeze. So much of what I do is centered on the restaurant…how could it not be? Withdrawal from that entanglement bordering on obsession is going to be a long and painful process, I suspect.
Here's an example: I've always loved to shop…it's a form of relaxation for me. (Luckily, I generally know enough not to buy everything that strikes my fancy.) During the Café Years, I have been so tied to the place that I couldn't shop nearly as much as I would have liked. And if I did get the chance to enjoy a stroll through a shopping mall, I inevitably ended up buying something for the café… a piece of art, a kitchen gadget, a jokey gift for one of the girls. Now, that entire focus is gone. A cute coffee-related poster or a great price on an immersion blender can literally bring tears to my eyes. I have to turn on my heel and walk away from things over which, six months ago, I would have caught my breath and cooed, "Oh, this would be perfect for the restaurant!" or risk embarrassing myself in the middle of a crowded store.
There are people out there who seem to have unlimited ability to start over. I have friends who are older than me, yet seem always able to look forward to, and even muster a breathless anticipation for, the next adventure. If anything, their age is a minor disadvantage to be noted and dismissed. Up until now, I may have been that way. But this experience has left me extraordinarily exhausted and…used up. Some possibilities for future livelihood are floating around in my consciousness, but I'm too tired…and too sad, just now, I think…to wrap my arms around anything specific, to make real plans, to entertain real dreams.
In fact, if I let myself think about it too much, I would probably start crying and never stop.
And I still have a restaurant to run, for at least the next sixty-two days. Which is why I have to just keep my eyes looking ahead (but not too far ahead) and keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get into the clearing…that place which is not cluttered with tables and chairs and grills and ovens and needy but nasty members of the consuming public. I need to focus on extricating myself from my current livelihood with the least possible amount of outward angst. (This should be easy. Like peeling a turtle.)
And then…take it from there.