Reflecting on the Last 10 Years
When I look back at the last ten years I say to myself, “Thank you.”
It was ten years ago I started my life all over again. A clean slate if you will. Since then, my life as I knew it has been completely transformed.
The year 2010 began with me graduating from culinary school and accomplishing a longtime dream of mine. Culinary school was one thing I’d had to put off when I was younger because, quite frankly, I couldn’t afford it. I was a struggling single mother and we were lucky just to have food and shelter.
Of course, becoming a chef wasn’t my first choice, but the career chose me. If you’ve read my previous post, “The Day I Became a Chef,” you know the struggles I went through to make it in this business and that I was practically shoved into the culinary field.
Lessons Learned Over a Decade
If there’s anything I’ve learned over this past decade, it’s that you can never give up on your dreams. I believed in my heart that finishing culinary school was going to change my life. And if didn’t, well, at least I could shout from the tallest mountain, “I DID IT!”
Pursuing my dream was something I had to do for myself. I had to prove to myself that I could finish what I started. And honestly, I’m proud of myself, because I’ve come so much further than I could have ever imagined.
But, while working to move forward, I’ve had to get real with myself about my personal relationships. My marriage was way past its expiration date and the foul smell was unmistakable.
We had one thing in common. We always seemed to bring out the worst in each other. Adding alcohol to the mix only helped to further spiral our relationship into a dark place that we both despised.
When it was good it was great, but in the last two years of our 12-year relationship, it was hard to find the good anymore. As a result, I spent much of the past decade rebuilding my life after a toxic love affair.
On top of everything else, we were losing our home. Our beautiful 6-bedroom, 6-bath home was short sold to a lucky winner somewhere in China.
I was distraught, dealing with anxiety and depression, so I sought professional help. The doctor prescribed Sorrequel which unfortunately caused me to have a slight stroke, only to find out later that I also had stage one cervical cancer.
My career was in shambles because quite frankly I was not on my game. I found myself utterly alone in this mess called life.
I went from earning six figures to $200 a week because my father took pity on me and gave me a place to finish the credits that I needed to graduate.
A Turning Point
One cold night I stood staring at the television in the dark small room that I had rented from a friend. Only one of two friendships I had hadn’t lost through my break up.
I could feel the tension in my shoulders, and the sour pit in my stomach. Tears flowed as I made a solid promise to myself. I had always tried to be a good wife, a good daughter, a good mom. I had failed. All because I didn’t listen to myself.
I decided that I was done at pleasing everyone else because it got me nowhere.
“Start by being good to yourself,” I heard myself say.
I made it a choice to start living my life. I had always cared about everyone else’s opinion and put everyone before me. It was time to start taking care of myself.
“Listen to your own intuitions,” I told myself. I knew what I had to do. “Your instincts are incredible. They will guide you.”
This quote is one that helped me to get through some pretty tough moments:
“When you pray you talk to God. Your intuition is when HE speaks to you.”–Wayne Dyer
Working on Myself
I realized it was time to work on myself. I started sending my resume out to all the jobs I would like to have. I’m good with people and I’m not afraid of knocking on doors.
I did great as a sales rep at my last job, so I applied as a Hispanic Specialist for a food company. I was great at it. The better I got at my job, the more my confidence grew. I was becoming a natural and truly enjoyed my job.
I loved talking to chefs, getting to know them and helping them whenever I could. It was through that process that I met Mr. Tapley, the man who ultimately sold me his restaurant.
He carried my loan and gave me the chance of a lifetime. He also told me that he admired my passion. That opportunity filled my heart with gratitude because I know how much Provecho Grill has changed my life.
Today I mentor a handful of chefs. It really is gratifying to see a person evolve, grow and develop. I hope to continue to mentor chefs long into the future.
Giving Back & Growth
I consider it a gift to work in a field and with people that I truly enjoy. It’s an even greater gift to help another person reach their dreams. That’s why I’m so passionate about sharing my experience and encouraging others to contribute and help others to grow.
If you can find a way to give to others, you will always find yourself in a world of abundance.
And I think back on the past decade and wonder if losing most of my friends was another gift. No one came to my rescue. The fantasy of having Superman rush in to save us is just that, a fantasy. Ultimately, I had to do things myself.
The truth is, a caterpillar can’t become a beautiful butterfly without going through a metamorphosis first. That process might hurt, and some days are going to be harder, but you just keep pushing through. Because your dreams are too important to lose sight of. That’s why focusing on you and your goals is so important.
Surround yourself with people who will continue to motivate you. Real friends will celebrate you, push you, motivate you, inspired you, love you.
Start by being a good friend to yourself. Start 2020 by taking your own advice. Speak kindly to yourself. Don’t listen to that little voice inside your head from the itty bitty shitty committee. If you stop feeding it, eventually it will go away.
As for the love I lost, I have made amends with my past. I can’t resent that experience because it has taught me not to punish others who will love me moving forward.
I choose to love and have allowed myself to be loved. You can too. Start by loving yourself. In doing so, you will find that it won’t be necessary to take that drink, eat that donut or feel empty without that person. The more you can get in touch with yourself, the less you will miss those things that are not good for you.
Again…thank you for an amazing decade and learning experience. My only advice to you is to love yourself, love others, be kind, chase your dreams, and work on them every day. Don’t stop, RUN! Make this decade count. Hello, 2020. It’s nice to meet you.
Chef Rosie is the award-winning Chef-Owner of Provecho Grill and a two-time winner of the SoCal Chef Open. As a chef and TV personality, she has appeared on Food Network’s Supermarket Stakeout (2019) and The Cooking Channel’s Farmer’s Market Flip (2017).
Chef Rosie is also a contributing columnist for Menifee Buzz and Valley News, recounting her culinary adventures to thousands of readers each week. Through her blog, culinary tours of Mexico, and food & wine events, Chef Rosie leads her readers and guests on an exploration of Mexican cuisine and culture.