Making a Manifesto

2011 October 23
by Janelle

A couple of weeks ago I had dinner with a dear new friend, at my favorite Hollywood wine bar, Lou. I’ve been to Lou a bunch of times, and have gotten to know bits and pieces here and there about the owner and namesake’s impeccable taste for unusual wine varieties, and his deep culinary convictions. After the first 10 minutes of knowing him, I became a fan of the man Lou, for always indulging my passionate (bordering on irrational) preferences for Sicilian wines, as well as for his witty banter on Twitter. Add to my accolades that Lou has consistently been one of the warmest places to drop in for a drink in Los Angeles, and this Boston transplant has pretty much found her “Cheers”, minus the barflies and mailmen with South Boston accents. I wouldn’t say it’s a place where everyone knows my name quite yet, but they’re getting to know my face and my palate, which is more important than knowing my name, in my opinion.

As if I didn’t feel at home enough at Lou to consider taking up residence in any corner of the place that would have me, I was endeared with an irrevokable sense of admiration and kinship, after I recently learned the history of my new favorite haunt through our mutual friend. As the story goes (bear with me; I’m abridging things), about five years ago a techy, web-programmer type named Lou decided to indulge in his true passion of food and wine and start anew. Devoting every day, as opposed to a few snippets of time, to the things he truly loved: Creating introductions and life-long friendships between people and the wines they otherwise never would have met.

An inspiring story of choosing to savor life (quite literally, in Lou’s story), rather than simply live it. There was a wonderful and profound irony, to hear this story while I sat in the very seat of someone who had done that so well, while I contemplated my own life path, and goals.

Living in Los Angeles, it’s so easy to get caught up in the “industry.” It’s a different sort of rat race here; one that’s covered in stardust that sometimes glistens so bright you can all but lose track of your own goals and aspirations, in favor of someone else’s—some industry exec who might not even know your name. You find yourself working longer hours and absorbing the stress and anxiety of those around you. It was perfect timing to hear about someone who kept his eye on the prize, and did so by spreading gastronomic joy to anyone who would have him do so.

I recently found this poster by Holstee—a life manifesto, which simply challenges the reader to stop over-analyzing life and just simply do what they love. While Lou did it with his career, and it would be nice if we could all find the perfect career, I don’t even really think you need to do that. We so often get caught up in daydreaming about all the things we’d rather be doing with our lives than showing up to work every day. While I’ll never judge anyone for dreaming big, I also think it’s okay to take baby steps. It’s okay to find the good in what you have and to take joy in the simple things. And it’s okay to make goals that revel in the simple joys of life.

Read more. Take time to pack yourself a delicious lunch that you can daydream about all day. Teach yourself to knit a cable knit stitch. Take a “non-smoke break” and breathe in some fresh air for five minutes in the middle of the day. Tell your friends you’ll meet them at 8 p.m. instead of 7:30, so you can have an extra 30 minutes to pet your dog. Teach a toddler how to make their hair stand up with static electricity. Let your company’s receptionist be weird and enjoy her for it, rather than pointing it out every time she tries to talk to you. Call your parents and let them blindly tell you how wonderful you are, not just because it will make you feel good, but because that’s what they live for.

I’m sure Lou would be surprised that a dinner at his wine bar inspired me to write my own personal manifesto for happiness. Maybe it was the Sicilian wine. That Lou, he knows what makes his patrons tick.

If you had to make a manifesto for yourself, what would you vow to do?

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. October 23, 2011

    The manifesto is a much larger question, but, can we go to Lou together, soon, please?

  2. Janelle permalink*
    October 23, 2011

    Absolutely! Next week? You’ll love Lou, too!

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