This evening I decided to make one of my favorite cakes: The Glazed Lemon Cake from the Silver Palate Cookbook. While eating dinner with my son I told him about the beginnings of The Silver Palate company and how Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso had changed food forever with their little shop on Columbus Avenue and the cookbooks that followed.
But then this led me to the story about the job not taken. The summer after my first year in college I’d worked as a swim instructor at a camp and then headed back to my hometown of NYC. I was reeling from my parents’ divorce and had decided not to return to college in Massachusetts opting instead to live and work in New York. Somehow I got information about a job for a little food shop, The Silver Palate, that was just opening. For a girl who loved to cook and bake this was a dream first job — I put on my dress and clogs and walked over to the shop on the upper west side. I had worked hard to lose my ‘freshman 15’ that summer and had vowed to appreciate, but not indulge in, the food I admired in the shop.
Who are you? Change the intonation a little and ask, again: Who are you? Now, again: Who are you?
Who do we each want to be in our lives? And in the lives of our loved ones, and others? What sort of impact do you want to make in the world? These are big questions, I know. And they might make you squirm a little. Or you might find them so familiar because, like so many of my clients, you may be struggling with that nagging tug of trying to figure out what your work and life is all about, at this new time in our history.
I hear my 20-something clients saying with surprise, “I thought I was on a track, but I found out that I’m not.” Or the 40- or 50 -somethings realizing that, “Everything has changed so much, and I want a new kind of stability, or a new way to use my skills – and I don’t think the experience I have will translate to anything else.” Scary stuff, this identity shift -work. (Or, is it an identity awakening?) But as always, we have ways to break down these scary places into simple things to think about, and to take into action.