First of all, I wanted to say from the bottom of my heart that I’m sorry for my longer-than-anticipated absence. I’m honored to know (from what many of you told me, thank you!) that my writing presence was missed. I missed you guys, too!
So what happened, you ask? I’d been meaning to post an update on what’s been going on for the longest time, but life got the best of me, starting with the sickness and loss of my 17-year-old Dachshund Jellybean. He was my fur baby for more than half my life, and it broke my heart to lose him. That, coupled with the remnants of the exhaustion from everything I’d gone through with losing my mom before that, I felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself after the storm(s).
You see, my mom was Jellybean’s main caretaker, especially in his old age, as I had begged my parents for a dog ever since I knew what a dog was, eventually convinced them to get me one, then promptly moved out for college and grad school a handful of years later (yes, I know, classic kid move). I’d visit home very often, as I’m super close with my family, but since I knew my mom took amazing care of my fur baby, I could live my life as a normal (relatively) carefree 20-something, too.
That all changed when my mom got sick a few years ago, as you may have read in my previous post. My life went from a carefree 20-something to wanting to spend as much time with Mom as possible, and trying my best to be strong for her (while internally crumbling AND simultaneously being in fight-or-flight mode for those harrowing 15 months). I’m so grateful I could be there with her, yet after she passed away, I wondered what to do about work again.
I had cut down on the regular 14-hour workdays, and eventually left my job in PR to be closer to my mom, and it was the best decision I had ever made, from a personal standpoint. And truth be told, it’s what got me started on this blog, which has now grown into a full-scale, multi-faceted brand and consulting service. So I can’t say I regret it from a career standpoint, either!
I’d always told myself I’d go back to the public relations agency world after things settled down, but I’m so grateful that the opportunities kept coming with writing, digital content creation, event hosting, consulting, and food blogging. Initially, however, the main factor in not returning to the “safety” of the corporate world was my dear little Jellybean, who was growing older (15 in human years at the time, to be exact). He went partially blind, developed a bit of dementia, and would get stuck in all kinds of places all over the house and bark continuously in panic. He would also need to be carried outside every few hours.
Thus, for the next two-ish years, I barely ever left the house for more than a few hours at a time, with a constant worry for Jellybean in the back of my mind (and heart). I also knew no one could caregive for him the way I did, nor did I want to burden them, with his 14+ medications and supplements per day and many other constant needs. So constant that as soon as I’d sit down to work at home (including writing for the blog), he would start barking, in need of something else. Still, I was so thankful that he was still an overall happy dog with an voracious appetite and a strong bark, and we went on regular walks (where he would run full-force… on the way back home) up until his final couple weeks.
When Jellybean suffered a stroke and the vet misdiagnosed it at first, it led to irreversible damage, and ultimately his decline. It breaks my heart all over again as I write this, but I find solace in knowing what an amazing, full life he had up until the ripe old doggie age of 17.
In the wake of Jellybean’s passing, I felt empty and purposeless. I felt like unneeded, and it actually felt foreign to not be a caregiver anymore. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was having an identity crisis. For the past 3+ years, I’d been so focused on keeping it together for my mom and Jellybean, that I’d forgotten what it’s like to live a “normal” life for a 20-something in this part of the world. And when I realized this, I consciously embarked on the path to getting myself back.
Unfortunately, in this process of getting myself back, I dropped the ball with blogging and staying connected to you all here. I went within a lot more, spending time on my own and slowly learning to prioritize myself and my well-being again. I went from being mothered (and boy was I blessed with an incredible mom for the time I got to have her), to “mothering,” to realizing I needed to mother myself now, since I no longer had a mother, nor my fur baby to mother. I never realized how tied these aspects are to the well-being of our very souls in this world, the exchange of unconditional love at its purest.
In this time I also embraced the freedom of being out of the house for longer periods of time, a luxury I didn’t have for years, and thus fully appreciated. At that point, things started flowing more with my work, as I was able to do more dynamic things and fully focus again on my professional and social life out in the world.
This led to exciting opportunities that I’d love to share with you all, if you’re willing to still stick with me on this journey. What I wrote here is not an excuse, as I’ll be the first to take responsibility for my drop-off and to apologize for it — I truly am sorry, you guys! I just wanted to share a simplified version of the most transformative phase of my life that I don’t talk about often, besides to the people closest to me, and hope that it may resonate with some… so you know that it’s never too late to get bounce back from a big life blow (or series of blows), and get yourself back.
And I have a pretty strong feeling that it’s never too late to get back to blogging, as I’m looking forward to sharing with you all my other projects that have been keeping me super busy lately! I promise you it will be exciting (new clients, hosted events, press trips & foodie travel, teaching at workshops and on speaker panels, and my photography going viral and getting printed in magazines… to name a few!), and that there are lots of fun perks for you guys — my reader VIPs — like ticket, restaurant and product giveaways, sneak peeks, first announcements for events around LA & Orange County, special discount codes, and behind-the-scenes footage and coverage of the hottest events and happenings around town… and the world. Because I plan on doing a lot more travel writing, and video content as well!
So THANK YOU so much to each one of you for your unwavering support, and for choosing to continue on this journey with me. Until the next update (which will be much sooner, I promise!), please follow me on my new Tanaya’s Table Facebook Page, my Twitter, and on Instagram @tanayas.table for more up-to-the-minute foodie sneak peeks and other deliciously exciting new content. Love you guys lots, and I’m excited to get back to writing here for you all again!