I obviously haven’t written in a while (duh)… but I have my reasons.
Obviously the first reason is the fact that it’s 2020. I’m quite positive that I’m not alone in feeling that year has been one of the worst we’ve seen in recent history… It started with a volcano spewing ash, to this horrible pandemic that has killed about 1.7 million people (as of writing), crippled economies (deliberately or otherwise… Thanks, alcohol ban), uncovered just how ill-prepared several governments are on how to respond to a crisis on a scale like this, and even exposed the level of selfishness, callousness, apathy, and violence several people are capable of having.
All these reasons have effectively turned me off from writing anything down and immortalizing 2020 – complete with corresponding time/date stamps – on my site.
Then I realized, it’s not fair to simply write 2020 off as the fiery ball of crap (#notsorry) that it has become… because for me, it has been a year of discovery.
I discovered long-lost, wonderful, unconditionally loving, and welcoming people in my life… I apologize for going back on my promise to be more authentic on my articles and videos, because I’m choosing to keep them a beautifully kept secret for the moment. Bottom line is, I’m in the best place in terms of my family life right now, and I sincerely wish that for everyone.
I discovered that it’s okay to come out in such a huge, public way about my personal struggles long enough to make a contribution to having safer conversations about mental health issues.
I discovered that working with some amazing, talented people from the food side of the industry makes having to work from home worth it – tech issues notwithstanding.
I discovered that what I perceived to be career setbacks are actually a fantastic way to finally take that rest I’ve been moaning about since December 2013 and re-evaluate… and upon re-evaluation – thanks to the utter silence from mostly being home and away from events and school – I’ve figured out what makes me happy.
Discovering what makes me happy took me through a journey of finding out what I’m not happy about. The “reverence” a student bestows on a professor makes me cringe but seeing students “get it” makes me happy. Putting myself out there on canned videos freaks me out (versus answering Facebook live questions, weirdly enough). I find that weird sort of awe some people have on being a WSET certificate awardee particularly disconcerting… Don’t get me wrong: I’ll be eternally grateful to the system for equipping me with a language and a way of thinking that allows me to converse with some of the wine world’s greatest rock stars, but the look people give me and the expectations from people make me want to crawl in a hole and return my pin (spoiler alert: I rarely and keep forgetting to wear my pin).
At first, I thought that it was my anxiety talking… but after a few conversations with non-industry folks, I discovered why some of them react the way they do. They get too intimidated to walk into a room with people like me because – in their minds’ eyes – we’re scary. Non-industry folks think that we speak a language (mostly amongst ourselves at that) which occasionally makes Latin look elementary, that some people in the industry treat alcohol events like a pissing contest on who knows more, and that industry people would highly disapprove of one’s drink preference.
Anyway, it led me to question whether or not I should leave the industry… and much as I know there are some people who would love it if I did, a) I’m actually a bigger fighter than that and b) Since I’ve been working with drinks since the mid-2000s, I find the idea of completely abandoning the industry too daunting.
Besides, there are still aspects of drinks that I love. I find geeking out about drinks fun. I like talking to winemakers, brewers, and distillers because they are so passionate about what they do, are so approachable (even if I mess up my French and speak Spanish like a gringa), and are some of the friendliest people on earth. I love food and wine pairing – especially the odd, unusual, borderline heretical ones… which is probably why some of my best friends are chefs (fine, our shared out-of-the-box humor helps). I like learning about alcohol from the source (which I haven’t been able to do because this blasted pandemic has put a stop to all our travel plans), from books (unfortunately I haven’t seen anything new and interesting lately), and from the weirdest sources… like friends from rural parts of Europe who just grew up with the stuff.
The thing is – and going back to my theme of discovery – I found out that there are things that I love more than drinks: I love sweating it out, more for my physical and mental health as opposed to bulking up or slimming down (I’ve accepted that I lost that battle years ago, pfft). I love animals – and even tried (but failed, his injuries were too much) to rescue one this year. I love family, and cooking for them ended up becoming my “love language.” I love helping people out but hate being acknowledged for it. I love writing when I want to and when I have something to say.
This is why I decided to write for the first time in ages… because I do have something to say: I’m planning combine a few of my major passions next year and do something completely unorthodox… It involves traveling while being with and for family, drinks, learning something new from a different perspective, and helping out for the sake of helping out.
Because 2020 is the way it is, I won’t talk about it until 2021 (good Lord I sincerely hope and pray that it would be a markedly better year)… Besides, this has become a horribly long, self-serving read.
Here’s to ending 2020 on a high, and Happy Holidays!