Yes, it is a bit of a ‘golly’ moment in New York isn’t it?
Uncertainty is awful. But, it is a necessary step towards reinvention, which is what I’ve been doing for the past year and a half.
On average, over the past 30 years, I must have reinvented myself a good half a dozen times…an average of once every five years or so. But why?
I suppose I could say that I’ve been acquiring new skills, honing in on existing talents…but that would really be a load of bull feathers.
Honestly, I never intended on reinventing myself. I would much prefer a quiet life in the Cotswolds or the Lubéron. But reinvention seems to be my lot in life.
To be truly frank, I’ve never really had a plan or a career path.
Opportunities are presented to everyone, every day: it’s part of life. Some recognize them and take them, others watch them go by.
All I’ve done is see them, seize them and taken them as far as they would let me.
I can’t tell you how many times people have been awestruck by the fact that I speak 6 languages, have traveled the world, worked for a rock ‘n’ roll band, been a journalist at a top news network, opened a luxury clothing storage business that is now a staple of Park Avenue matrons and celebrities, danced across Europe as a professional flamenco dancer, wrote and published five books and now a wine director at what was one of the hottest restaurants to open in New York City this year.
Even as I write it all, I think I’ve just impressed myself! But seriously, all of this was simply because of an idea, an opportunity, and in a couple of cases having the luck of the stars being perfectly aligned in my favour.
Now, as I sit here in my apartment, I wonder what’s next? My most recent avatar was in that wonderful world of wine.
I do not honestly believe the restaurant industry in New York will come roaring back, or actually, perhaps it will, but it will have a different character, a different personality. I don’t know that I will readily see someone spend $9000 + on a bottle of 1990 Petrus as I did a merely couple of Saturdays ago.
Friends of mine in Spain are terrified: one of my best friends, one of the top sommeliers in Madrid, had to take her mother for her chemotherapy today. She had no mask and no gloves and she described the feeling in Madrid as apocalyptic, where the secret enemy lurks on every corner, waiting to engulf you.
Today, when I walked out towards the Park with Baxter, it was too pretty a day to be scared or panicked. Yet, I know the end of the month is coming and that brings with it the spectre of bills. What will I pay with? There’s no money.
Perhaps we ought to look at what is happening as a reinvention? What comes out the other side, we don’t really know so there’s no sense driving oneself nuts speculating. Let’s just keep our eyes open for the next opportunity.
I thought this morning about what I feel when I’m in my tunnel of reinvention, I don’t struggle, I don’t strain, I allow myself to be. There are an awful lot of disappointments along the way, and yes, of course, I am human and I do worry and I chafe and I rant and rail, but one soon comes to the conclusion that it is futile. What will be will be.
And whilst we may not get what we want on the other end, we will most certainly get what we need.
That…is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind in this time of uncertainty.
And take this time to reconnect with friends, whether by text, email, facetime, however you want, but reconnect. There are a couple of girlfriends of mine I had not seen in months, mainly because I’d been working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week on this new restaurant opening. And now, for the past week, we get together on Facetime every day for a drink at 6 o’clock and catch up. Another friend, I hadn’t spoken to in a good two years, I reached out to her and when she said, “It is so good to hear your voice,” I almost cried.
Living in New York, working in jobs that rob us of what our lives should be filled with: friends, family, laughter, companionship and support…that for me is something I will change after this is all over. I want to make more time for the people who add something to my life, I want to work to live, not live to work.
And years from now, when I sit in front of the fire with nothing but my memories, I want to know in my heart that I was a good, loyal friend, not a fair-weather one.