Nothing makes you take stock of your life and the direction it is going, quite as fast as being near death…Twice.
That is of course, unless you also throw in surviving through a global pandemic known as
Covid 19. Now to be fair, technically, I’m not out of the woods yet as far as the pandemic goes. That bugger to date has infected almost 248 million people, and over 5 million have succumbed to the virus, so non of us is in the clear, but with over 7 billion doses of the vaccine administered worldwide, and the continues developments being made by the medical community, our outcome is looking more encouraging.
For me personally, these crisis events, although certainly not wished for, intended or desired, did provide me an opportunity to take stock of my life. Where I was in that moment, what had led me to that place and was I content to stay there or was this the time to effect a change for the better? The benefit of a forced stop to everything you once considered the norm is it allows you to evaluate what is in your life and what might be missing. You are able to really consider if the path you are on is the same one you want to continue to travel. For me, I embraced this opportunity to make a major overhaul of my life and I decided to start making decisions that although scary, were not nearly as scary as remaining where I was.
By this time, I was now dealing with the loss of my livelihood as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic and had gone through a second near death experience as a result of my second pancreatic attack. I decided that I was not going to let my history dictate my future any longer.
I changed my health habits entirely. My future depended on it, and still does, so I adopted a healthy lifestyle. Good food choices comprising clean foods with low and healthy fat choices and a diet which restricted sugars to get my body composition back in line. I lost 30 pounds, quit smoking, and drinking and get regular exercise.
My wife and I added a golden retriever puppy to our family, her name is Lolly, and she has helped to maintain my exercise. There are times I really don’t want to go for a walk, but Lolly does not take “I don’t want to”, for an answer.
I enrolled in school, attending Seneca College as a business student pursuing a graduate certificate in Global Hospitality Business Development. This brings me full circle in my hospitality career, back to my beginnings as a graduate from my education with Kwantlen Polytechnic in hospitality operations management going back to 1997.
At the same time, 17 years after graduating from culinary school from Vancouver Island University, I finally decided it was time for me to obtain my inter-provincial red seal designation and I just recently successfully challenged the certification exam and am now officially recognized nation wide in this field.
My time behind the stove, missing out on having a family life, recreational events, holidays, concerts, dinner with friends, birthdays and a multitude of other activities has come to an end.
I decided to consider my needs for the first time in a very long time and came to the conclusion that after almost 30 years working on the front lines in the hospitality industry, it was time for someone else to fill that role. I decided that it is time for me to forge a new path. I still enjoy my industry and I have lots left to offer, I just think I can offer more in a new capacity without compromising my own self any longer.
To steal a quote from the band Timbuk 3’s song from the 80’s “my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades”. (MacDonald, P. 1986)
Macdonald, P (1986). I’ll do alright. The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades. Greetings from Timbuk 3- B side, Dennise Herring
Wikipedia. The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - Wikipedia Retrieved November 5, 2021