my plan

New Life, New Dreams

a seed of hope that must be nurtured.
with planning and preparation, Hope takes root
now an idea capable of growth.
we are all growing, learning, changing
and with us our ideas evolve.
Mahatma Ghandi said –
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
I am a seed of hope for a new future.
sparks of creativity, innovation, and the desire to know more
are what help ideas grow into actions.
actions that facilitate change in our daily lives
and in the world around us.
I am catering to a new world
where small steps to increase awareness
will lead to changes in our personal choices
and advocacy for changes in our society
my ideas have taken root
and are nurtured by the love and support
of those around me who share my vision.
in this moment
we can all plant seeds of change,
help the roots spread far and wide,
and toast to a beautiful future.

hi, i’m sofi

and I’m planning my way through life. My plans don’t always work out and most of the time I’m planning for things I don’t actually want to do. Instant gratification is funny like that – it feels good while it’s happening but it doesn’t usually get you where you want to be. Lately I’ve been really struggling between short term rewards and long term goals. Apparently the emotional and logic-based parts of my brain are constantly in a furious battle – and I’ll admit I’m a very emotion-driven person. My goal is to strengthen my rational side’s resolve to claim victory over the emotional beast within me. I found these tips on inc.com to tame my impulsive spirit animal so that I can achieve my very much human goals.

but wait, let’s rewind

Hi my name is Sofi and I’m in the restaurant industry. Cue the AA greetings – seriously, being in this industry sometimes makes me feel like an alcoholic and not just because I’m constantly surrounded by booze 12 hours a day. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to love about working in the food biz – but also a lot to hate. There is so much energy, creativity and genuinely good people to meet along the way when you spend your life working in restaurants. There are also large amounts of asshole customers that have a special place in hell waiting for them for treating restaurant workers like human garbage for inappropriate reasons. I did not grow up dreaming of becoming human garbage, so what the fuck am I doing?

my wildest dream is to

change the world.
do something meaningful.
learn everything possible.

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty. No kind of life is worth leading if it is always an easy life. . . I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life; I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.

Theodore Roosevelt

Okay, I may have envied other people’s easy lives once – twice tops. I also realize that my life is one of those enviously easy ones in comparison to those with seriously deep struggles. I shouldn’t be such a baby about it but alas, there is the emotional beast diligently gnawing at my self control. I grew up working in restaurants; part-time through high school and college, full-time through dropping out of college two or three times, changing majors and then part-time again getting my shit together and finally graduating. I told myself through it all that when I finished school I would NEVER have to serve or bartend ever again and would get a “real job”. I earned an Associates Degree in Hospitality Management from County College of Morris in Randolph, NJ, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Studies from The New School For Public Engagement in New York City. I centered my studies around food policy and politics with the original dream of becoming a sustainable event planner. Studying the ugly and intricate structures of the food system changed my dream – I wanted to help fix the world. So here I am living my passion of facilitating food system reform and advocating for social justice.

NOT

I quickly determined that changing the world does not pay the bills and that my resume really only qualified me for one career path with a serious paycheck – restaurant management. It seemed my beloved college degrees violently shoved me deeper into the place I was hoping to escape. Fortunately, I can’t help but enjoy doing things I’m naturally good at so I’ve plowed forward – committed to my love-hate relationship with food service. I am motivated by the experiences I have not only managing food and beverage, but also managing people. Whether it is my staff or my customers, I am honing my interpersonal skills for bigger and better things. Sooner or later the bigger fish I will be frying up for my proverbially life/dinner will feed my true passions and I will live happily ever after.

Back to the Brain

okay so now that I’ve chosen to forgo the instant gratification of not being miserable on a semi-regular basis in exchange for long term satisfaction and fulfillment, how do I not break down and die before I reach my goal? Here are the tips and how I plan to execute them:

Manage my Environment

My environment up until a few months ago was total shit. I was spending 90 or so hours a week in an extremely hostile work environment that everyone around me seemed to accept as totally normal. THIS is what I hate about restaurant people. I had no free time and no social life – but I was driven to be successful at my job and I was. I used to wish I could black out for two or three years and wake up when it was time to do something better. Don’t get me wrong, some parts of my job were extremely rewarding and I loved what I did. But a lot of the time I would rather be punched into an extended coma than live in the present moment. It sounds dramatic but it was true and I still stand by it. Every once in a while when shit got out of hand unbearable, I would go on a spree of applying for new jobs on LinkedIn as a sort of therapeutic release. Often I was offered interviews, which I never ended up accepting until one day – I finally did. I was like a battered wife trying to rationalize why I should stay with my abusive husband. After two and a half years I finally decided to divorce the job that was causing me so much pain and move on to a new relationship. My new job is like heaven in comparison but it’s still not my passion. Some day…

Tend to Basic Needs

I decided to develop a social life. CycleBar has been my savior and I am a truly devout follower. I finally met some people outside of “the industry” who have similar interest and aspirations as me. I have found a community that is committed to motivating each other to achieve their goals, no matter what those goals are. I never thought I would wake up at 4 AM to workout for fun, but that’s what I sometimes do. I am training for a half marathon in March and I am constantly looking for new and entertaining ways to exercise and be healthy. My emotional and physical wellness is through the roof right now and I am so thankful for the unending support of my new fitness family. This has definitely kept me focused on my long term goals and give me energy to move forward.

Tie Emotions to Goals

Ugh, here are those emotions again. Mostly getting in my way, but now I need to use them to my advantage. In order to create a good habit it needs to be associated with a positive emotion. If I eat right, I feel fueled for a good work out. If I work out, I feel motivated and accomplished. If I am motivated, I feel like my long term goals are within reach. Boom, emotions tamed.

Just Do It

Buy as much Nike gear as possible. Just kidding…maybe. For real though, jumping in head first is usually the best way to get shit done. This one seems like it contradicts the whole “planning” thing, but don’t be fooled. I have a five to ten year plan outlined with many of the goals I hope to achieve. I specifically pencilled in vague “jumping points” so that I can mentally prepare myself for risky leaps into the unknown that may actually present themselves at any given time. Back in January 2017, I wrote out a Five Year Plan to keep me sane while I toiled in my living nightmare job. I knew I needed to stay put for at least two years – the socially accepted amount of time to stay at a job in order to prove you are capable of succeeding at it without getting fired or bailing too soon. This is how the whole face punching coma fantasy developed, by the way. I’m not insane. Six months after the two year minimum, I wrote “prepare for life change” into my plan. I didn’t specify what the change would be, only that I should be ready for it when if it appeared. I didn’t realize until after accepting my new job that it was exactly on schedule for my planned transition – almost to the day. Talk about the power of visualization. Even though it felt like a huge leap of faith, I had actually been subconsciously preparing for this exact moment for two years. When the time came, I was ready to just do it.

To Infinity And Beyond

Now it’s time to make the most of this new situation. I’m three years into my five year plan and I’m not going to lie, I’ve got some lofty goals to achieve. My quality of life has drastically improved at my new job but it’s still not my passion. My mind keeps going back to this and even though it’s a light burden to bear in comparison to the hell from my previous life – I can’t help fixating on it. It’s as if now that I have a taste of happiness in the present moment, I’m addicted and want to binge eat until I’m a fat, instantly gratified animal – dragging a giant belly lethargically towards those now unattainable long term goals. So this is the ultimate battle that will be unfolding before me – the rational human verses the emotional beast within.

A remnant of my past – I’ve always been idealistic