March 1, 2016 by Caroline Leland
And thus begins the next chapter.
I write this from the kitchen island in a beautiful house just south of Vanderbilt University. My tiny potted succulents line the kitchen windowsills, and my groceries are in the pantry and the fridge. It doesn’t feel like home — far from it — but I’ve been in Nashville for a week now and finally feel ready to reflect on my arrival.
I’m staying with friends of my dad, an empty nester couple whom I’ve come to think of as my host parents. It’s humbling to live under someone else’s roof after having paid for my own apartments for the last three years, but I’m trying not to overthink it.
The first day of my fellowship with Edible Nashville was last Monday. It started with a three-hour “orientation” meeting with the editor Jill Melton, who founded and has led the magazine for the past year. I walked away a bit dazed, realizing I needed to independently set and diligently pursue my own goals for this fellowship. I felt much more excited about the opportunity as a whole after spending a couple of hours writing out a list of eight goals (with sub-goals) that I will use to guide my next four months.
On Monday I also started work at a local restaurant called Table 3. Training as a hostess did bruise my ego, but I continue to remind myself that I sought restaurant experience intentionally. I want to be the best hostess the restaurant has ever employed, and then I want to train as a server and maybe even a bartender. Having goals really is essential to my psychological wellbeing. It’s why working at Crossover was so hard for me: I was working so hard with no idea of what I was working towards. It was like treading water in the middle of a stormy ocean. Or like sprinting on a treadmill. Doesn’t matter how many calories I burn or how much muscle tone I build: I hate feeling like I’m spinning my wheels.
But here in Nashville, I have eight goals (with subgoals) for my magazine fellowship; a clear career progression (with a specific timeline) for my restaurant job; and I’m also training for a half-marathon, aiming to run it at a 8:30 pace.
Determined to survive adulthood.