When I am asked to describe myself, I am apt to say that I am just a girl from Kentucky. Being a girl from Kentucky, I am fond of horses, basketball (University of Kentucky basketball to be exact), and bourbon, and not necessarily in that order. These are a few of my favorite things indeed.
So, when I was invited to celebrate a dear friend’s birthday on the Bourbon Trail, which is a tour of some of the local distilleries, I responded with an enthusiastic, Yes! I was looking forward to a great day with an even better group of friends, both old and new, and those expectations were far exceeded. In addition to learning about the history of Kentucky’s bourbon industry and the process of distilling bourbon, I came away with something more.
At one of the distilleries, the guide explained, that in addition to bourbon, they also distilled vodka. Vodka?! This statement caught me completely off guard. Then, the guide further explained, “We can produce a bottle of vodka today and sell it tomorrow. It pays the bills.” Bourbon, on the other hand, takes a minimum of eight years to be ready to sell, which is a long time to wait when there are bills to be paid.
The guide’s explanation stayed with me long after the tour ended, and it had nothing to do with vodka or bourbon. I began to think of the trade offs we all make in life to accommodate both immediate and long-term needs. There are those immediate needs and responsibilities, such as paying bills, and there are also those long-term needs and responsibilities, such as making a personal or a professional dream a reality. Sometimes, we put more emphasis on one than the other out of necessity, and other times, we completely lose sight of one or the other altogether.
So, do you approach life like vodka? Do you constantly look for immediate gratification or favor instant results? Or do you look at life like bourbon? Are you willing to wait for the time it takes for something good to develop or appreciate the hard work that it takes to reach a goal? Perhaps, you are a bit of both.
It should come as no surprise that I tend to view life like a master distiller of the finest bourbon, as my own experiences have taught me that some of the greatest joys and successes in my life have come after a long time in the making. It took me over 2 years and 200 hours of supervision to earn one of my professional licenses. My first daughter arrived after 5 years of extensive infertility treatment. It has taken me 6 years to recover from the anxiety and depression that led to the implosion of my world. It has been nearly 2 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. None of these were easy to navigate and achieve, and none of them happened quickly. But eventually, they happened.
That said, I do not always embrace the whole good things come to those who wait (and hustle) philosophy, especially of late. Figuratively, I really want a glass of Kentucky’s finest bourbon, but I want it in the time it takes to produce a shot of vodka. What I want is not going to happen in the time I want it to take, and sometimes, that realization frustrates and angers me to no end.
I am at the point in my life, personally and professionally, where I am losing patience with delayed gratification and working for things that I am not even sure will ever happen. I am caught in that space between what my life used to look like and what I envision my life to be. This in between is a familiar place, as every one of my greatest achievements has occurred following this in between period. While it may be a very familiar place to be, it does not mean that it is a place I like, or want, to be. I am trying to be okay with it, but I am not.
As I grapple with my impatience and less than positive and optimistic feelings, I keep thinking about the lesson that I was reminded of on the Bourbon Trail. If I veer off of this trail or run back to the start, I will miss out on the opportunity to reap the rewards that come from hard work, faith, and patience. Even though I want to stomp my feet and throw a temper tantrum to try to get my way, I know that the only way to get my own way is keep going and blaze my own trail. When I move from the in between to the end result, I will celebrate with a glass of bourbon, not vodka. Cheers!
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story