When you meet new people, you should expect it.
When you are waiting tables in a town where 95% of servers are there to make money while they’re auditioning for something else, you should expect it.
When you are traveling across the country to participate in amazing events and you are meeting wonderful people in the industry you spend so much of your life in, you should expect it.
And you should have an answer for it.
“What do you do?”
What do I do?
Well… I wish this were easy.
When I was in New York recently, I told my friend Sarah that I was having one of those transition times where I didn’t really know how to answer that stupid question anymore. That for so long I was a musician, and it felt wrong to not say that anymore, but I hadn’t figured out my new answer yet.
It was becoming frustrating for me because – yes, I am a server and a bartender, but I do so much more than that! I love the restaurant industry, but when I tell people at my tables that “Nope, this is what I do”, they get wildly uncomfortable. In New York, I was surrounded by all kinds of food industry people, and although they understand being a server/bartender more than the average Joe would, it wasn’t how I wanted to represent myself in those exciting situations.
So I spent some time really focusing on a good answer.
“I’m in the food industry” – no
“I like food” – Well, yes. But no.
“I write about eating food” – getting closer
“I write about Los Angeles, food and music” – Ok, hold on. Let’s reevaluate.
While visiting the city that never sleeps, I was sitting in my favorite bar in Harlem (I’ve only ever been to one bar in Harlem, and I really liked it) with three girls who knew me from three different times in my life.
First of all, it was really cool to bring those three people together in one place at one time. Maybe I should have guessed it, but I never imagined that my adulthood partner in crime would meet the girl who choreographed my Showcase dancers in high school.
(PS, she also writes a hilarious blog. Check out sixty six days of sarah)
Most importantly, we talked and talked about how all four of us were doing our own thing in life. Not one of us had chosen the “typical” American dream. You know – the steady career, owning a house, having kids kind of life. We were all doing it our own way by paving a path for ourselves and for our lives that made us excited.
And dammit, it is really freaking hard sometimes. Especially because there are so many scary parts where you have to reevaluate and start over, and there are ages and numbers that pass you by when you aren’t where you thought you were going to be – and neither is your bank account.
Not to mention, all of the people who just don’t understand how a person could not have a specific job title or career path or savings account. All of the push back from the “real world” who absolutely do not understand why you’re 30 and still waiting tables…
But for all four of us, being creative and trying new things and living in big cities far from home and meeting amazing new people and making it all work on a shoestring budget – that is the most fulfilling way to live our lives right now.
Ok, maybe not the shoestring budget part. That’s not really fulfilling. That sucks.
But the rest! Isn’t that what it’s all about?
After that kind of tipsy but awesome chat – plus just the whole trip to New York – I felt like I really talked through what I was doing and where I was going here in the Los Angeles food scene. And the other day, while I was sitting down to research a few new projects, I came up with this:
I love blogging. I love baking. I love wine. I love music.
I’m good at all of these things. I do all of these things. Screw trying to make up a good word to define what I am and what I do. Because I do all of those things I love and I really love doing it. I’m not an accountant or a teacher or a doctor or something that can easily be summed up in one word. Some days I wish I was, but I’m not. I am an artist and a lover of creativity.
So hey, “What do I do?”
Well, right now I’m a blogger, a baker and a sweet candy maker.
Because candlestick maker would have a nice ring to it, but it is totally not my thing.