• Laurie Van Thiel

Chaos: A Year in Review

Where to begin, I guess a year ago is better than any.

My manager let me know that in March 2019 my last day would be June 2019. He did this out of courtesy for me and it was something I requested. In retrospect it was probably the worst thing ever but hindsight is 2020.

The reality was I was the right fit for a time but I was starting to go a different way. I missed having purpose. And was coming up against wall after wall. I wanted to do something different but I didn't want to lose the security of my job, until I did.

I had wanted to make the leap into hospitality but the job insecurity, my age, and the lack of health coverage was a big negative for me. Then my lack of being able to engage with bartenders and barbacks full time crept in. My friend Rocky wanted me to take more chances and I refused because I didn't want to loose the stability I had in my employment. It seemed like a bad move. I used vacation time to explore opportunities in the hospitality industry.

Then in June right as I was to be laid off I landed another job. It took priority. I wanted to do well and any free time I had was to recuperate. The reality was between my health, my job change, and life in general things were rough. I spent most days in a state of fear or in pain. As I've aged I've found my allergies have increased exponentially. Then in September it all came crashing down and life was on a downward slide.

My mother called and told me the stress test she had gone in for had now turned into emergency open heart surgery. I thought in May, "this was the lowest I could get." Until September showed up and said, "Hold my beer." It was a stressful a two months from September up until November. My mother was in ICU for 5 weeks. I visited for some of it but as it was I would find out my time wasn't covered. I was a new person and didn't qualify for anything but sick time. I would have to eat the leave. Then when it seemed like my mom was on the mend I could kind of breathe, not really. But let's pretend.

I was looking forward to celebrating my birthday with friends until the Sounders and Portland Cocktail Week stole it. At this point the Sounders stealing my birthday was it. I cancelled everything. It was the last straw for me. I was teetering on the edge and they won. Earlier in the year Portland Cocktail Week had announced their change. So I was expecting it. The Sounders I wasn't expecting, the disdain for them was strong. But in reality they stole more than my birthday. They stole potential too. See this wasn't a local match. It was an international match and I let them take it because one thing I have learned in my almost 20 years of living in Seattle is people won't travel if there's traffic. It would be like trying to battle Russell Wilson in a football throwing contest. You're not going to win. I admitted defeat and cancelled my birthday. My allergies and the stress of my new job got to me. I felt like a ship adrift at sea. The world was against me and there were no friendly seas in sight. It was a downward spiral that had me unfriending people and quitting my blog. The stress had taken a toll on me and I was done. Or so I thought, and then on December 1 my life changed again. My champion, my biggest cheerleader died. It seemed surreal. I found out from Twitter of all places. At the same time it seemed fitting. But it hurt all the same. I had divorced myself so much from the industry I tried to befriend that I was once again left alone. But like a good soldier I carried on until I couldn't. I explained to my manager and she let me leave to attend a memorial. I showed up with the masses at his memorial. Still feeling like the awkward kid in the corner.

Realizing then and there I will never belong in the industry. Rocky was my entry. I will forever be the weird interloper in the corner.

I also owe an apology to those from the industry I unfriended. It wasn't you. It was my own insecurity nothing more and I own it. If you're willing to have lunch with me; I'm willing to admit my mistake and apologize to you face to face. Saying I was in a dark place is an understatement but in retrospect Rocky never wanted me to leave and frankly was disappointed in what I did.

This is my mea culpa.

Always Imbibe Responsibly.

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Seattle, Washington