Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Retrospective 2012 - A Year with its Highs and Lows

RetrospectiveCollage6

2013 - it’s here! We’re well into the second week of the new year and I still need to get into the swing of things around here. Isn’t it funny how easy it is to fall out of a routine? Honestly though, after living decadently for the past two weeks I have to say I am happy to have my routine again. While all those indulging meals, cakes, desserts and treats were grand I am feeling over-satiated and glad to be cooking up my lighter dishes in the kitchen again. 

What I’ll miss however is the extra time we took to spend with friends, who usually gather around our place for dinners, game nights and conversation far into the night. That was real luxury for me. I love catching up with them as most of us live in different cities and usually connect with short texts, tweets or Facebook messages throughout the year.

The break over the Holidays brings us together and we all have time to look back and look forward. While we all laugh when every year Tom asks his famous two questions, we all enjoy listening to each others highlights. lows and ups. We discuss new goals and take balance if the ones made the year before were achieved or not.

Life is not always as perfect as many would like it to be. There is plenty of sweet that lines the highlights but often the bitter leaves a nasty taste behind. I often wonder why it is that many of us can so easily share successes, happy times, and rosy moments. Why do we cover up our failures, sweeping the dreadful moments in our life under the carpet? I truly believe it is the hardships that we face and overcome that define us as stronger people.

The real world is not full of shiny happy people or moments.

RetrospectiveCollage1RetrospectiveCollage2 RetrospectiveCollage3

When Tom asked us all “what was your best high and your worse low in 2012?” I found it sincere and courageous that many of my friends spoke as openly about their sad and distressing moments as they did about the positive aspects in 2012.

While I was looking through my blog posts and collecting the images for this retrospective one thing was very clear; my year was full of colorful food and much of my day revolved around food and food related topics. I was either cooking it, styling it, shooting it or teaching it. Nothing new for a food blogger, photographer and stylist who has been blogging for almost 7 years. What was different however, was each new project I took on made me grow independently as a professional and take a further step into a more professional career.

RetrospectiveCollage4 RetrospectiveCollage5

It was a rollercoaster ride that covered cookbook stylings, restaurant shoots, magazine features, workshop travels, e-book publishing and more. Each one came as silver linings or dark clouds, bringing pure exhilaration or total frustration with them.

RetrospectiveCollage7RetrospectiveCollage8

Experiencing such contradictory emotions, often in a span of days or weeks or even sometimes at the same time when projects would run parallel to each other, was new to me. But I learnt and hope am the wiser for it. I understand that the more you push yourself into working on several projects, not all of them function on a positive level. Where there is success, there will also be failure.

I am lucky that I have a very strong, encouraging and supportive network of friends and family.

Thank you so much for always being there with words and advice that pick me up and get me back on track. Thank you for the Google chats, the daily emails and Skype sessions, the many lunches, the laughs and giggles, the consolation and the shoulders, the shares and the RTs. You know who you are!

RetrospectiveCollage11

What was a big test on a private level in 2012 was the fact that both Tom and I were learning to master a relationship as a couple and as parents with thousands of kilometers between us. We are in two different countries doing the balancing act of working as functionally as a family as possible. He is in Stockholm, Soeren and I are in Weimar. We have real family time about 6 days in a month - that can be hard and put a strain on all involved. We have great family days together, then there are days when things do not run as smoothly as we had hoped for. That’s life!

RetrospectiveCollage10

So, to answer Tom’s famous annual question:

My 2012 High:
The workshops. From Plate to Page as well as the several Food Photography and Styling workshops I instructed on my own energize and motivate me. Teaching enriches me on so many levels and meeting warm, talented and generous people from around the world who come to be a part of the workshops is a most positive high. The workshops make up for what I miss on a virtual platform - meeting like-minded people, exchanging thoughts, ideas and sharing laughs and fears - in real. I met some amazing people in 2012 through my workshops - making new friends chasing new dreams and creating new projects.

RetrospectiveCollage12 RetrospectiveCollage13 RetrospectiveCollage14

My 2012 Low:
My e-book. It was never a goal on my list. It came fluttering into my mailbox and after research and discussions I decided to go for the challenge. I loved working with Michaela, my assigned editor. We ticked well and the blog-to-e-book concept came together fantastically. All my requirements were met by the publishing team at Hyperink. The book took off quite well and for something that I had not planned, I was happy with the initial results. However, when cutbacks were made at Hyperink, things changed and they were unable to market it as planned. The book suffered. I moped. I did not find the drive to push forward the ideas I had. I had a few good ones but I was far too involved in other projects that I was getting paid to complete -  so the book sits. It makes a few sales - but it will not be a best-seller.   RetrospectiveCollage16 RetrospectiveCollage17

Do you know what I also discovered while going through my 2012 posts? It was a blog year of hardly any chocolate treats! Seriously, that’s never happened before. For a self-proclaimed chocolate addict this was a shameful and yet interesting discovery. Apologies to all the chocolate fans out there - I shall better myself in 2013!

Chocolate treats in 2012:
Chocolate Espresso Sponge Pudding
Black Forest Pavlova: Quark, Cherries, Kirsch & Chocolate
Chocolate Treacle Sheet Cake

My favorite sweet treats in 2012:
French Strawberry Hazelnut and Crème Patissiere Tart
Eton Mess with Saffron Cream, Raspberries and White Currants
Clotted Cream and Lavender Honey Panna Cotta with Prosecco Berries
Quarkkeulchen with Cranberries and a Cinnamon Blueberry Compote

My favorite recipes in 2012:
Salmon Kedgeree with Butternut Squash, Parsnip, Fennel and Quail Eggs
Roasted Fennel Soup with Pernod and Smoked Salmon
Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Galette with Anchovies, Olives and Capers
Indian Chicken Curry

RetrospectiveCollage15

This space is almost like an extension of my home and you are so often loyal and fantastic friends I love having over to share my recipes, my thoughts, my ups and my downs.

I thank you all walking this path with me again and I look forward to another rollercoaster year with you.

Dream big dreams and never fear failure or the hard times. Be bold. Be courageous. Create memories.

Reach for the moon … if you miss at least you’ll land amongst the stars.

Bring on 2013!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2013 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

34 comments :

  1. Indeed, in life there are lows too... Thankfully, you also had many wonderful highs last year and your are surrounded by supportive people.

    May 2013 be the best year so far & keep up with the great work!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, sister, I have been battling the same thoughts, trying to balance out the highs and the lows as well. 2012 wasn't as extraordinary as 2011 in so many ways, but 2012 brought me many new starts, new friends, new professional contacts and connections. I have been trying to turning the negative into the positive and start 2013 off on a high note, a new footing and make all of my goals happen. Watching you from afar (and sometimes very up close), seeing how you work, improve, drive yourself and balance everything in your life, seeing your achievements as well as how you handle your disappointments always inspire me, makes me rethink what I am doing and how I work. I watch you with a mixture of awe, admiration and jealousy and always loads of love. Sharing your highs and lows, ups and downs helps me keep going. I am glad I am a part of your life and you mine. I know 2013 will bring great things to you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How I love this post. In this world full of social media, it can be hard when it seems that "everyone else" is living the "perfect life" and we tend to forget life is full of ups and downs. Thanks for sharing your views and the wonderful things you've accomplished this year. Wow, it may sound strange but I'm just really proud of you doing all this shooting, workshops and presentations!
    I wish you nothing but the best for 2013, lots of love, laughter and health. And good food, of course;) And a meet-up with me maybe?!:) Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Glad to see you back and prioritising the chocolate! Plate to page was definitely a highlight for me too, it was an honour to come back and cook for you guys. My year has truly been one of learning - the good lessons but also the unpleasant ones. It hasn't been easy but all this makes us grow as people and so I have to believe there is a purpose for it. Keep asking yourself what you took from each experience and in the end the answer may be, "I need to make more chocolate treats in 2013." Love you! xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. So glad you explored the down-side in your post. Not that I want to be pulled down by complaints or whinging but the relentlessly perfect blogs also make me feel unsettled.

    So glad to be a part of the good bits of the year though :)

    Much love my dear and I am sure that 2013 will be a wonderful vivid energetic energy and creatively fuelled roller coaster success!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank You Meeta for sharing your thoughts, indeed we want to share always our best and highs. Now that I look back to 2012 and count my blessings they are more weighing than lows. Did I had any lows even. They must have been so small issues that I have forgotten. Mostly something to do with my mindset, working on being better person is hard.

    I enjoy your photography, it's lifts me up on low days. I did not find link to your e-book, would you share it, please. Where can we buy it?

    You have inspired me on 2012, those two workshops in Dubai have really been my highs on food blogging and photography. Thank You Meeta, I am looking forward 2013 inspirations from you and meeting you again in person.

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes life is all up and down and we are very lucky to have each other when we are happy and when we are low! And we are lucky to have New Year to make our own and to move forwards in. Come rain, come shine, I know you will be there for me!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Meeta, your posts are always deep - on many levels. It was enlightening reading the summary of your year, your trials and tribulations. I hope 2013 brings you many more reasons to enrich your life. Happy New Year! Here is to another year spent eating, discovering, learning and reaping!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brilliant to hear you being so honest, it looks like the highs make up for the lows. I didn't know your husband was away so much lately, hope you get to spend more time together this year. I shall look forward to seeing you in February if that's still on!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Happy new year dear Meeta :) I see from your favourite list it's high time for me to do some Bollywood cooking!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My dear, thanks for covering the lows in life too! Sometimes it seems everbody out there has the perfect life on the sunny side. And thanks for being so honest!
    2012 brought me you and you are one of my highs!
    BTW I love the New Year, it is clean and like a tabula rasa and now we are going to fill it with life!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loving this overview of your year Meeta and you're right; it's the lows that make us appreciate the high's so much more. While 2012 was a successful year for me in some respects, it was a very low year in a number of other aspects... More so then normal for some reason, but I had a few highs for sure! I hope to meet again at least in 2013! Let's make it a good one!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Meeta, what a beautiful, thoughtful and honest post. Life is full of highs and lows, and sometimes it's difficult when everyone seems to be enjoying high after high. So thank you for being honest.

    It was also beautiful to look back on your beautiful photos from 2012. Each one is so stunning. I hope 2013 brings you everything you wish.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Dear Meeta,

    what a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it and it will surely keep me thinking about it for a while. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  15. In many ways we are all blessed to have this online community that understands our work issues almost better than the people we live with. The lows are not failures, just opportunities to learn something and take it forward. And the highs, especially those that result from our own hard work, are amazing. It has been a joy to watch you work toward your goals and have so many successes over the past seven years.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Meeta dear, this is such a wonderful and down to earth post! Life is full of ups and downs and I agree both should be shared - I often learn more from the downs than the ups!

    I adore you and I just want to bite into my computer screen and eat your photos :)

    Love,

    Marta

    ReplyDelete
  17. Meeta,

    It's been a joy getting to know you even more this last year. I do hope we get to meet one of these days.

    As you said, the lows make us stronger and our successes even sweeter. Your great ideas will be used in other places... I have no doubt about that.

    To a happy and healthy 2013!

    Much love,
    Brian

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dearest Meeta, a wonderful open reflective and personal post. I think many of us experienced a year in 2012 on the brink of personal emotional tragedy - just as the world saw also so much sorrow. It is sometimes hard to share those emotional things as I at least am often unsure whether I should write about these moments and how far can I go. But it is liberating to do so and as you say a blog is like an extension to your home.. so why not!
    I am sorry we didn't see each other in 2012 - let's hope 2013 will be a reunion year.
    Big hugs from Frankfurt to Weimar - and by the way: you are a star!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh no - left a comment earlier this morning from my mobile and it has disappeared :((

    Life is definitely a case of highs and lows (!) but always riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave when we get together my sweet sister. Great to have ridden the 2012 rollercoaster with you and all aboard for 2013! xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. ah Meeta, my sweet, sweet friend whom i've never met in real life - such a pleasure to read your words this morning as i find it comforting to know we're all in this thing called 'life' together. your words, your work, your photography, your teaching - YOU - are inspiring - even when there are negatives that sneak into our lives. and yes, we ALL have negative events that happen; but it's what we do with those events, how we allow them to shape us, to make us better, to set us on a new or slightly altered path that is important - and it's a choice each has to make for themselves. surrounding ourselves with friends and family who lend that support when needed, kick our hineys when needed, laugh and cry when needed - but love us in spite of our own selves - this is what is important. i am grateful for you Meeta, i am deeply grateful for your presence in this small little world we work in - for your presence, for your wisdom, for your laughter, for your shenanigans, for your genuiness - all of it makes my life brighter and joyful. happy new year - here's to a fabulous 2013!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. You make walking the path easy Meeta. I am often a lurker on this and many blogs but I have enjoyed your journey.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a wonderful retrospective on your year, Meeta. It's so true that we tend to focus on the successes and accomplishments in our lives. Perhaps that's an act of self-preservation. However, you're right that it simply doesn't reflect real life. To be honest, I get tired of reading blogs that portray nothing but a perfect life, as I know that it simply can't be that way all the time. Life has its share of lows, but that's what makes the highs feel that much better. I hope 2013 is full of many, many highs for you, sweet Meeta. It has been such a pleasure getting to know you, and I hope that we have the opportunity to meet face-to-face someday.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Meeta, it has been a pleasure getting to know you here in the ethereal world. I was honored to be featured on the P2P blog. What I want to know is: when is P2P coming to this side of the Atlantic?! Thanks for a lovely post ~ and remember, just because something isn't a best-seller doesn't mean it isn't worthy! xo

    ReplyDelete
  24. Meeta, Such a wonderful post as always. I have been following your blog from 2007 and I have tried few of your recipes and they work so perfectly. You are someone whom I look up for inspiration. I really wish you the best for 2013. Yes, I look forward more chocolate-y posts this year. I hope to attend P2P one day. Plan one in San Francisco !!! :-) Best wishes and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Meeta, thank you for sharing your thoughts!! Reading your wonderful post have really made my day. Wish you a wonderful 2013 and I already look forward to see you next month :))
    Hugs, Eva

    ReplyDelete
  26. Meeta, what a beautiful and honest post. I'm thankful for your openness and energy for trying new things, stirring things up and making things happen! I just got back from a styling workshop/retreat, so now I know that feeling you all have been talking about. I'm energized and renewed!! And don't be down on the book. You can do another one! Love ya!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Well that's it then, more chocolate in 2013. ;-) As always, your honesty, energy and creative spirit are inspiring. Much love to you and best wishes for a phenomenal 2013!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Love it! Very heartfelt and warm post. Always enjoy reading your posts Meeta :))

    ReplyDelete
  29. Such a lovely recap, Meeta. I love and appreciate your honesty!
    Happy 2013 :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I so enjoyed the photo collage -- your photos are inspiring, beautiful. I can relate with your highs and lows, I had a year like that myself. Grief and gratefulness are hard to hold in the same span of time, but I'm learning to let them flow as they come. Great post, I look forward to more of your heartfelt work in the coming year. :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Attending one of your Food Photography and Styling workshops was truly a high for me in 2012 and I look forward to taking better food photographs as a result! Thanks for sharing the highs and lows and best of luck for 2013! :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Don't worry about the e-book, maybe it is a hint that you should give us a cookbook? I'd be the first to queue up for your cookbook, Meeta! Your photography is isnpirational, and I thank you, thank you , thank you for your photo tips, and I learned so much from this blog, which gives me the confidence to pursue it further:-)..Keep rocking, Meeta!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wonderful post, Meeta. I share with you the challenge of being miles and miles apart with my husband and the balancing act of being a couple and new parent. After being a couple for almost 10 years, the transition to parenthood is hard enough, on top, being in two different cities makes it even harder. This is a challenge we will have to continue working in 2013.

    Love your openness and honesty. Best of luck for 2013!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi my friend! So great to read your post! Life is certainly full and you never know but it's wonderful to have such a positive attitude. And don't worry about your book - it was very brave to put yourself out there like that! Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta