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I am currently burnt-out.

I can’t remember in which of the books I’ve read of Haruki Murakami, but in it said, “And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through….You won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Rene’s post on “Fantasies of a Happier Kitchen” really resonates with me. It hit me to the core. There is a draft post somewhere in the dozens of drafts I have started, talking about this topic. Many chefs could share their stories and their paths would be eerily similar. I am looking forward to see the changes in our industry. It comforts me to know a new set of leaders will continue to press forward, improving on the unpleasant traditions that were once set before us.

I don’t need to be told how little I am every day to prove to you that I’m not so little. David Chang’s “The Culture of a Kitchen,” reminded me of how I felt years ago: “As a cook, you come out of it cold-hearted and alone, but invincible.” But now, fast approaching a new decade in which everyone calls it their prime, I don’t feel so invincible. I also don’t have the energy to constantly be on someone, including myself. Few people want to constantly hear what they are doing wrong—again. I had to learn how to show empathy to myself first before I could even begin to practice empathy with others. The hardest road to follow is one that involves self-growth. Throwing the ego out the door—the same ego that protects us from hurt—is a terrifying endeavor.

So to counter my burn-out, I am putting aside that ego and the hustler mentality that made me once invincible and the one everyone wanted to live vicariously through, to usher in a new decade of self-empathy, and to be free to learn a new way to be.