Find Your Way Back

The last year has not been an easy one.   After spending 6 months basically free of responsibility, in my very favorite place on earth, doing nothing but things for myself, returning to Atlanta – to a different Atlanta – was a bit shocking.

Summer was free and easy.   Sure there were obligations to meet:  I worked, I didn’t go in debt, I managed to lease my house to good tenants, I kept up with family and friends, I became part of an amazing community.   For the only time in my life, I made a conscious decision to do what I wanted, not what was expected of me by my family, my friends, my colleagues or my community.   It was pure freedom for me.

But all good things come to an end.   And for some stupid reason it did not occur to me that returning to Atlanta and not living in my home of 16 years, not going to my job of the same number of years, having to carve out a whole new existance in the same old place might just be odd or even difficult.   And it was!   I had a vague notion that I wanted to learn the catering business so I worked an ill-defined job.   I lived in the basement of friends, physically removed from my old neighborhood smack dab in the middle of everything.   I was removed from privacy on my terms.  I relied on my car to go everywhere.   I found it frustrating and pretty much impossible to source, from Atlanta,  a Summer 2012 kitchen space on the Cape.  My schedule was the opposite of my friends’ and my hours the opposite of my housemates’.   Money was tight.   All these things were so foreign to me and I certainly felt them.  Deeply.   Sure, I was welcomed home with big, wide, loving, open, generous arms.   My city was more beautiful than ever.   I got the opportunity to learn the restaurant business first-hand.   I saw more of several very close friends than I had in years.   All good.   All great.    But I missed the ecstatic summer months on the Cape.  I missed the sunsets at the Breakwater.  I missed a million new friends and acquaintances.   I missed walking or riding my bike as my primary form of transportation.   I missed the crazy “who cares!” attitude of Provincetown.  I missed that very close and real sense of me and who I was and the sense of purpose in what I was doing.

Somehow that got lost and it’s taken me a while to get it back.

So I made the winter work.   Catering turned to managing the inaugural dinner service at the restaurant.   Living in the basement brought me closer than ever to two dear friends.  I got myself in pretty good physical shape.   I spent some quality time with my family.   I refocused on my summer plans and was redetermined to make the second summer work in my favor.

April came, as it always does, in its splendor and glory.   There were a few clouds on the proverbial horizon, though.   I think, in hindsight, I let the burden of having to have my house leased clouded my excitement.  I still had not worked out a cooking space for my nascent catering business.  There was last minute car trouble.  Eventually, though, I leased the house to great tenants.   The car got fixed.   And I left Atlanta, on schedule, May 2.  My trip back north was uneventful, with lovely stops again in Mercersberg and Princeton.    I rolled into town on a cloudy, rainy May afternoon.   Looking back, I think those clouds may have stayed in my head.   And I think they affected my outlook and my perceptions for a good part of the summer.   They were a harbinger of more challenges, more change, more creeping self-doubt and unwarranted self-pressure.

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