Today’s guest blogger, Mel, is a food blogger from Northern Virginia who is literally changing her life to follow her passion! You can read about her culinary adventures on her blog, The Studio Foodie. 

Damn, my life has changed so much in the past week–its overwhelming, dizzying, elating, and scary as hell, all at the same time. With the click of a mouse and the delivery of an email, I went from Mel, a food blogging federal consultant with a surprisingly stable job despite the economy to an almost-unemployed potential culinary student.

I can’t even fully explain what happened, but something inside of me broke last Tuesday. I started out in my consulting career with so much zeal and excitement–I was going to change the world! As time went on, I felt like I hit one brick wall after another. The fun died.

“That’s ok,” I told myself. “Work is work. It’s something to pay for all the fun stuff I do outside the office.” To a very large extent, that’s true. I started focusing on just getting the job done so I could go home and cook. My kitchen became my respite from an increasingly-stressful workday. I kept telling myself that things would get better, but they never did. Finally, last Tuesday, I hit my last wall. The security of a regular paycheck no longer outweighed the stress. So I resigned.

After 1 August, my insurance ends. No more 401k contributions for a while. With no income to speak of, I have no way to pay rent so after 5 years making it on my own, this little foodie is moving back in with her parents. (They won’t let me live in the basement, unfortunately, so I won’t be able to totally fill the ‘adult living her parents basement’ stereotype.) I’m selling nearly all my furniture to get some more cash savings under me for a bit.

You have no idea how difficult this is for me right now. I have been fiercely independent since I figured out I didn’t always need help–just ask my parents. As a toddler, I was constantly complaining, “No!! I do by self! BY SELF!!!” to anyone who’d try to help me with anything from making a snack to tying my shoes. One of my biggest joys in life, beyond cooking, was the knowledge that I was a totally independent woman–I needed no one for nothin’. I paid my own bills, changed my own tires, and made my own way in life.

And now I’m exactly 7 days from plunging below the poverty line.

Over the past week, the song “Defying Gravity,” from Wicked, has been playing over and over in my head. I guess you can say it’s become my theme song, of late. The song comes at Elphaba’s breaking point, when she decides that she must follow her own desires–and essentially starts down the pathway to wickedness. As she stands with her roommate and friend Galinda (the future Glinda), she begins to sing, “Something has changed within me/Something is not the same/I’m through playing by the rules/Of someone else’s game. Too late for second-guessing/Too late to go back to sleep/It’s time to trust my instincts/Close my eyes–and leap!”

I think that’s what I’m doing–I’m leaping. If I fall, I shall hit the ground running and with grace…or at least a well-practiced smile and a “I meant to do that.” But life is too short to pass up your passions.

Something changed inside me last week. I was tired of the stress, the drama, the nonsense. I’m playing by my rules now. Those rules will probably change a lot over the next few months, but that’s alright. They’re mine to change. I’ve been in talks with some other companies for a while now, so if those jobs pan out, I’ll take them up on the offer. I’m aiming for a January start date for school, and in the meanwhile, I’ll focus on expanding the blog and finding a job out at one of those wineries I love so much.

I’m excited for the future, and scared like no other, all at the same time.

In the meanwhile, a woman’s still gotta eat! I’ll still be posting recipes, but now from the perspective of a paleo woman sharing a family kitchen with non-paleo parents, on a near zero-budget. I can do this. It’s gonna be a fun ride!

Mel @ The Studio Foodie


P.S. If you missed our event announcement, make sure you check it out an R.S.V.P. if you’d like to attend!