These two years are a bit of a blur for several reasons –
- I was on Prozac
- I was a workaholic
- I was consuming large quantities of alcohol
The causes and effect nature of these factors had me spinning around in circles and living in a world of make believe and reality that had no clear boundaries, values, ethics, morals or direction. Looking back its hard to separate these years with any distinction….. Life was fun, free, fulfilling and fast – I think.
My career was growing as my teaching became full time and I became the key program tutor for the Food and Beverage Certificate. This included annual travel to the National Food & Beverage lecturers conference at which I met some really amazing people. Experiential learning was all the buzz and I hosted student cocktail parties in my home to enhance their learning – I honestly believed in this process at the time. This teaching flowed back home and my children could all make several cocktails and flaming coffees… great life skills that I was teaching them.
Dad came for another visit and we demolished the kitchen, started on the rebuild (didn’t quite get it all done), had some fun times over a dram or three and I introduced my Dad to my diverse group of friends from guide parents to school teachers…and bikers to colleagues.
Anne-Louise and I attended my high school reunion and I realized that my school mates didn’t hate me back then in fact they barely even remembered me. WOW! Time to let go all that insecurity. Had a great bonding time with my sister as we did the wine trail and revisited our youth.
I went on holiday, alone, on a bus tour around the top of the North Island and met some amazing people who were sharing the tour with me. Sadly I don’t actually recall any of them with much clarity but for that week we were one happy band of campers…and a little bit pissed.
Professionally these were amazing years as I became known and established as a hospitality professional with the support and guidance from Thomas George, Paula Cown, Stuart Taylor, Liz Fitchett and Jenny Peace – and as a teacher under the watchful guidance of Alan Calman.
Within the community I was a Guide leader, treasurer of the Parent Teachers Association and Secretary for the Connoisseurs Festival.
Personally I had lost my way (yet again) and I struggled with depression, alcohol, boundaries and taking responsibility.
This small card, which I carry in my wallet to this day, was given to me by Thomas. Thankfully this, and once more the unwavering support of my friends and family, steadied my course helped me to find my way back to myself. To my friends, colleagues, students, extended family and my children – Sorry for the mess I was and thanks for staying the course with me.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927