Next month I turn thirty-one years old. Last year when I entered my third decade of life, everything felt the same as it had before except for the intensifying joint pain and reliance on probiotics. When midnight rolled over into a new day and my thirties, I was already asleep (by choice) in a cabin in Naubinway, MI. Waking up in the Upper Peninsula that next morning, I decided right then and there that I wanted more nature in my life.
That is what being thirty has been like for me. No more putting off the things that I want to do — no more doing the easy things because they are comfortable. If I say, I want more nature; I am going to get it. Ten months later found me breaking my lease at the Chicago highrise I'd called home for the last few years and buying a small house in Michigan surrounded by trees and a horribly loud and very territorial chipmunk. Don't worry I still stream in the Cubbies game religiously. Once you go National League, there is no going back to the junior circuit.
As of last week, I relinquished my monthly column at Plate Magazine because I felt I had no business writing about the service industry anymore. As I continued past my "best by date," I sadly reached a place of tedium and indifference. I have not been behind a real bar as an employee since I got married about three years ago.
I find I would rather make drinks and cook meals myself or with friends than to go out and have someone else do the fun stuff. If I do choose to go out, it is less about the food or the clout of the place and more about enjoying a date with my wife and paying a premium to get out of doing the dishes. I can count on one hand the times I heard "last call" in a bar over the past year, and my body feels better. I am rested and sharp. I still have a few glasses of wine a day with dinner and a small cocktail hour, but I have been living by our newish rule of no cocktails after dinner, and I couldn't feel better.
All of this was reaffirmed this past weekend when I found myself in New Orleans but not for Tales of the Cocktail. I was down there for some family stuff, and the tiny amount of free time I had before catching the return flight I spent at the highly underrated New Orleans Museum of Art to see my favorite Pollock painting and crushing a few pounds of boiled seafood at Bevi. I did sneak in a martini at Ralphs on the Park, but there was no desire at all to mingle with the massive cocktail conference going on in the Quarter. If you ever have a few short hours in New Orleans, I'd recommend you follow in my footsteps. As the plane was boarding a bartender guy walked past me and stopped in the aisle to ask if I was at Erin Rose the night before. I smiled and truthfully got to say, "Nope, I certainly was not. I left my dignity there years ago."
My focus has changed. I am much more concerned with my physical and mental health, my wife, my house, and using my time wisely. I don't have time for keeping up with industry gossip, new restaurant openings, and what the cool ingredients are this season. It all blurs together these days for me.
I still plan to write about food and drink but in my own time and only for fun. I will be writing on and off for Valet again, but this time as a volunteer. This blog will continue to be about making drinks at home and my little stories and doodles that I have been neglecting with the move.
I appreciate all of you that read what I write and those of you that reach out with encouragement.
P.S. Interestingly enough the last time I was at Erin Rose was on Christmas morning a few years ago. I spent the morning helping a drunk Santa Claus put a dent in a bottle of Irish Whiskey. If I ever find the photo that proves it, I will delete it at once.
⬇️Get notified when there is a new post by subscribing below!⬇️
Bar To Home
A simple translation from bar to home.