1. Why did I retire?
Well.. A lot of reasons. First and foremost, it was just time. I tend to either change – or significantly modify – careers every few years. I’ll be seduced by the idea of a new challenge, and jump right in. I learn new skills, get good at something, and enjoy new challenges, problem solving, etc.
The challenges dwindle. I try to keep myself entertained by creating new techniques, etc… but the boredom sets in. It becomes pervasive and painful, to the point where I just LOATHE what I’m doing, and it makes me utterly miserable. It becomes harder and harder to work, because it starts to feel like I’m just dying inside.
For cakes, this started happening a couple years ago. As soon as I started to realize that I really could make just about ANYTHING out of cake, well… it all went downhill from there. I just need a challenge, and I can’t handle monotony.
I don’t take it as a bad thing, and I think it’s good that I KNOW this about myself. I’ve known that I’m wholly unemployable – for this reason and others – since I was 16. I know to start thinking about succession planning about ½ – 2/3 of the way through the average lifespan of my career attention span, so I’m not just flailing when the inevitable happens. It’s all good!
In addition to my attention span issues, I’m just sick of the wedding industry. It wasn’t always as bad as it is now – I’ve had several career incarnations in the industry – but now it’s just gross. Vendors are slimier and more cut throat than ever. Wedding media is more incoherent, illogical, and dirty than ever. I refuse to kiss ass, I don’t “play the game”, and really, I don’t fit in. Having to deal with crap like venues with exclusive kickback agreements with other bakers, predatory practices by less scrupulous businesses, etc… ugh.
Also, wedding culture is more materialistic and just… silly… than ever. Reality tv has had far too much impact on the industry that I used to love, and now it’s just some twisted … monster. Bridezillas have become something to aspire to, I get emails like “Oh, I don’t care how the cake TASTES, I just want it to look good”, etc. Brides are put under so much pressure by the massive overstimulation, that it just ceases to be about the marriage. I don’t like it.
I think that about sums it up.
2. What are my plans now?
I have several more cookbooks planned / started, and intend to put out a full series, 1-2 books per year. I’m also working on 2 non-cookbook books: One on the tornado, and one on navigating the wedding industry.
Beyond that, I don’t know. I’ve got a couple years before I have to prepare for the next change 🙂
3. What am I going to do to celebrate?
We went out for dinner, then relaxed in the jacuzzi with a cupcake shaped bath bomb, and drank UV “Cake” vodka straight out of the bottle. Hey, I never claimed to be classy … and I’m all for themed celebrations! 🙂
4. Am I going to make cakes at all?
Not for a LONG time, no. I need to recover from the “If I make another batch of fondant, I am going to die of a stroke or something” feeling. Beyond that, I’ll be doing lessons, and some video/pictorial tutorials. If some awesome geeky event goes down locally, I may eventually make an exception and do something for fun – Wootstock, I’m looking at you!
It took 5 years after making my last wedding gown, before I even THOUGHT of sewing anything more than a ripped inseam. Now, I have little pangs of “I wish I could make just one cool prom gown… just to stretch those mental muscles and get it out of my system. I’ve made a few costumes for sci fi conventions, just for family and friends. That’s enough for me… for now.
I think that covers everything.
I woke up this morning with Stromae’s “Alors on Danse” (So we Dance) stuck in my head… that sounds about right, right now.
When I turned on the radio, it was playing Ace of Base’s “Beautiful Life”… so I think that sums things up well. A sign! (THE Sign, maybe? LOL!)
* If you were on Twitter last night, while I was crowing my celebration like a madwoman… you know what she’s talking about. If not, stay tuned… we’re brewing some crazy ideas for my remaining display cakes!