I have been thinking quite a bit about my Irish Twin. He has had it rough this past year. His entire catering industry collapsed in 2020. In one day, the work simply disappeared. Gone.
And to add to this pressure, this pandemic has hit his entire social culture, as literally every person he knows has been experiencing the same unforgiving crashing of economic waves he has been doing his best to endure on a daily basis. Not only does he have to deal with his own issues, he has to watch as his friends’ careers also fall apart.
This is a group of people who work normally 12-16 hours a day, Tuesday to Sunday … with only Monday off … they reserve Sunday for toasting stories of workplace woes and culinary masterpieces. Rinse and repeat.
They love their life. They hate their life. They are dedicated professionals. The are loyal to the career. So much so, when they retire, most of their retirement dreams are about owning a bar or a restaurant on a beach. I hate to be the one to point this, but that is not retirement. That’s just moving.
In March, COVID cancelled their Sunday night ritual. Now every day is Monday.
It’s not always so easy to lend a sympathetic ear to others whilst you’re in it just as deep as they. Sometimes you just can’t handle the sound of someone else’s gasps.
It’s goes back to that age old question: How can one drowning man save another drowning man?
With that, the years of Sunday night hang sessions turned into mid-week debates and disagreements and early night exits. I think that is all but cancelled too.
Now they have retreated to their bubbles of self-preservation. And when they do come out, often it’s to count and compare who has it better and who has worse. Which only serves to throw hot oil at each other.
What once was a beautiful supporting hospitality community in this once thriving little city by the majestic river … is currently a fractured bridge.
For my Irish Twin, it would irresponsible of me to write off his part in all this by saying “oh, he’ll be fine.”
That’s not fair. He’s tough and independent for sure. And it’s has always been his duty to be a guide for me and our brother Drew – with solid reasons behind sage advice.
But acting out grieving internal monologues through the use of verbal stings and harsh reality soundbites during dinner with mates? Well, that’s not the finest way to critique a meal now is it?
So I have a message to my brother, and to all of his crew who have spent decades building this city and celebrating their one day off in each other’s company.
If you need to have your moment to shout. Shout. If you need to point out selfishness? Point. If you need to be alone. Find your space.
Just remember the golden rule:
- Ensure you are hanging out with people who will tell you when you’re being an idiot … and,
- Ensure you have friends around you to remind you that you are a person who has friends.
This is a time of upside down luck. Not solo surviving.
Because when this is done, when this is all over … there will be reflection. And for that reflection to renew this world, it requires each of you to be present during those re-scheduled Sunday-night hang sessions.
So when one of you begins a “remember when” story about this time that may be still raw, they can safely look around the room with a grin and say: What? Too Soon?