by Larry Kilbourne
This year brought with it some interesting revelations - most interesting to me! I took a long look back on life and discovered:
Act I involved a protracted (how's 11 years?) experience in academia where it took three schools and a lot of time to decide that I wanted an undergraduate degree. No regrets, just bemusement in retrospect. But in fairness this included picking olives in Cyprus, white-washing an old rectory in East Anglia, England, building a log home in British Columbia, and settling down for seven years in Omaha, Nebraska (where I cut Warren Buffet's lawn, though it was no big deal then) back in the mid-70s.
Act II, required seven years of graduate work to finish a Ph.D. in Philosophy. I wouldn't have traded that experience for the world, though I never wished to pursue an academic career. I thought then - and do now - as my mentor Don Ihde once remarked, "Philosophy belongs to the world, and I hope that's where we place it."
Since then, I've spent the better part of twenty years involved in sales, business development, and marketing. It's where the money was.
But I discovered it wasn't where my heart was. That conclusion took two years of soul searching. One year and ten months denying what I knew, and two months to make a plan based on what I finally admitted.
I'm a baker of bread... I'm an apprentice baker of bread, to be honest.
I've been baking bread for nearly forty years now. But mostly seasonally, and always by recipe. Paint-by-numbers. This year I got myself re-engaged with a forty-year love affair, and decided that it was time to devote myself properly to what I've loved doing for a long time.
If you've followed this blog, then you know that I started by signing up for a three-day course on classic French breads at King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. There I had the good fortune not only to meet eleven other kindred spirits, but to spend three days with two Master Bakers - Jeffrey Hamelman and James MacGuire - who are not only excellent teachers, but of my generation.
What I learned there was shocking: I'd been producing something about which I knew practically nothing at all, and, if I spent the rest of my life learning how to bake bread, I would never, ever, become competent to the point of boredom.
That was easily the biggest wake-up call I'd ever received.
It was also the most liberating realization in my life.
In the next week or so, I will be a part of the opening of a food venture in Washington, DC called G Street Food. It is a partnership venture which features DC food guru and artisan bread baker Mark Furstenberg. I will have the opportunity to work with him to begin a new venture - for him in business, for me in life.
There are 3rd acts in life, and who knows?
Copyright © 2009 by Larry Kilbourne, Ph.D. Dr. Kilbourne is an independent marketing consultant. He may be reached at email@example.com.