"We Plan, God Laughs"

It's been just about four months since I left the corporate gig, and these days, I am a BUSY little bee! While I still find time more time than the average working bear to flop and laze (you might recall the "flop and laze" is pretty much the defining characteristic of my early weeks of FUNemployment), I now have quite the packed calendar. 

Four months ago, I could never have guessed that where I am now is where I would be. Oh, I had ideas...but reality was quick to remind me of the pure TRUTH of that old Yiddish Proverb, "We plan, God Laughs."

I'll let you in on a little secret. I am a burgeoning oenephile (though that is not really a secret to those who know me well). While I've imbibed in wine for many years, it's only been in the past few years that I've gotten more passionate and committed to learning the details and intricacies of the wonderful world of wine (especially those delicious sparklers!) In fact, I was SUPPOSED to begin a semester long, in-depth wine professional/sommelier certification program this fall...but my program was cancelled. I signed up for the program before I quit my job, so when the program was cancelled, I was bummed, to say the least. Sure, it's just a temporary road block and I'm exploring other programs (and keeping my eye out for this program to potentially start up in the winter), but that program was meant to be my fall anchor and provide the momentum to launch of a whole new career! Now what was I supposed to do?!

In the absence of a formal wine program at my finger tips, I decided the least I could do was visit a few new wineries, my own little independent study. I visited a Minnesota Winery (#79 on my 2015 List) called Warehouse Winery, conveniently located right here in the Twin Cities. While the space was cool, and it was fun to learn about Minnesota's cold climate grapes, including those grown in the St Croix river valley, I wasn't in love with the wines themselves. Additionally, I just returned from a brief vacation to San Francisco to visit my friends W+D and drink plenty of wine. My trip to SF included a day sojourn to Napa, where we visited not one, but 3 new-to-me California wineries (#81 on my list). We decided to focus on bubbles for the day and visited Domaine Carneros (my favorite of the 3), Chandon and Mumm. After our day of wine tastings, we even managed to score a table at Bouchon for dinner in the chichi Napa town of Yountville. Bouchon is a Thomas Keller restaurant, and I soon learned he is kind of a big deal chef. Dinner at Bouchon did not disappoint and was a great way to close out our Napa day trip.

I am also filling the void by hitting the fitness beat hard. I've always enjoyed working out, but it was something I consistently downgraded and sacrificed back in my consultant days in favor of bending over backward for demanding clients and colleagues on projects that really didn't fire me up. Well, now that I don't have that pesky JOB thing to deal with, I'm working out 5-6 days a week, and sometimes twice in one day. My workouts include OTF interval training 2-3 times a week, running 2-3 times a week (gearing up for the Medtronic TC 10 Mile race next weekend), and practicing yoga 1-3 times a week. Also, over past 6 weeks or so, have cleaned up my eating quite a bit, and am on a 40+ day streak logging my foodstuffs into MyFitnessPal. My newfound healthy habits seem to be paying off. In fact, I've lost 21 lbs since I left my career at the end of May. I haven't felt this strong and healthy in years!

Perhaps the most unexpected development is that I have a JOB(ish)! I'm currently volunteering four afternoons a week at a Title I Saint Paul public secondary school, serving as the Stage Manager for the Fall Musical production of Little Shop of Horrors. What's funny about this is that I have ZE-to the-RO experience working in any kind of theater. Thankfully, I'm an enthusiastic learner, I have plenty of experience volunteering with kids, and I'm pretty tight with the director (he was a groomsmen in our wedding). I'm learning a ton, and I even had the opportunity to meet with a professional stage manager to help me learn some of  the ropes. Essentially though, I'm an extra pair of hands to help further the efforts of a theater program that has limited resources, and I want to do the best job I can to make a positive contribution.

The most fulfilling thing about volunteering with the production so far is, of course, the kids.They are fricking awesome, and I love them. They are so passionate and fun, and it's a thrill to get to know them and share this learning experience with them. According to some of the kids, my selfie game is strong, my outfits are on fleek, I'm way younger than they thought I'd be, I'm not too annoying, I'm sort of cool, but I really cannot dance. Hey, I'll take what I can get! I also now know what "BAE" and "THOT" stand for. I'm a little behind on today's slang, but nothing like hanging out with 6th thru 12th graders to get up to speed.

So, that's where I am now. Each day, I'm growing more comfortable with living life without a storyline (Pema Chodron's words, per the link) opting instead to do my best to roll with ebbs and flows of life versus trying to commandeer and manipulate every darn little thing to my liking and resisting life's natural currents and inevitable obstacles. It's not easy, but I am happy to be learning to live in this more open-minded way, a way that acknowledges that my life's script is one of infinite fluidity, never to be set in stone. I feel more free, more empowered, and more aware of new opportunities and paths that I might have otherwise overlooked; paths that have perhaps been there all along, just waiting for me to be ready to explore more freely. And the journey continues...