Hi, hello! So, I just got back from a trip to Australia and I have some wacky jetlag, which means my early mornings are ok, my middays are groggy AF, and my late nights are hyperactive Winter Olympics streaming.
Late last night (um, early this morning), I pulled up my Facebook and was met with this lil’ one year ago memory:
Turns out, one year ago I hashed out a blog post about bagels and feelings and neuroses and launched JoBagel.com!
Errrr, I absolutely spaced and totally forgot that it’s Jo Bagel’s 1-year-anniversary.
I’m ill-prepared to celebrate anything, but I feel like I’d be remiss to not say SOMETHING today. This is a weird project, and a weird blog (not a food blog, not a lifestyle blog… how many highly sensitive emotional bagel blogs are there?). I knew when I launched this thing I’d get love from my near and dear close friends who are kindly supportive of every dang thing that I do in this universe (and never taking that for granted, their support fueled the very idea of this site). What really floored me though was the support and enthusiasm that came from the friends who are maybe not as intensely close to me as others, or the we kinda-sorta-know-each-other mutual Twitter followers of mine, or the straight up strangers who somehow found my Instagram.
Last year right after launching this site, I trekked to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the conference I’ve been going to annually for the 7 years I’ve been a part of the industry. I was at a bit of a crossroads at last year’s GDC- professionally, I was attending for my state government job, which, while I found a lot of satisfaction in my work and loved my team, I knew I wanted to try transitioning off to something else. Personally, my life trajectory and life decisions were just feeling, I don’t know, sort of stale? Stuck? I’m a sucker for momentum.
Anyway, I guess I’m rambling about GDC because last year, Jo Bagel wasn’t anywhere at the top of my mind while I flew into a conference about freakin’ videogames. But throughout the week, I ran into so many friends in the industry from across the world… and they were so damn excited about Jo Bagel. They were so excited to hear about bagel baking, my bagel philosophy/their bagel philosophy, Montreal vs. New York, should you toast a bagel, etc etc etc. And, it’s hard to articulate, but something about that pure, kind enthusiasm really moved me, really inspired me, and I also found a lot of my bagel talk paralleling the conversations I have when I’m at my most passionate about my professional life (there are a lot of surprisingly complimentary connections between bagel production and games production…. seriously, talking about bagels helped me talk about videogames better that year.).
A year later and I moved to a cool desert town and I’m barista-ing and gig collecting (AND also going back to GDC in a few weeks!). I’m still very obviously figuring out my footing professionally and personally, but I feel like I’m sorta-successfully valuing the present more than I ever have, treasuring great moments that will become great memories, and while my mind is always thinking of next steps, I’m (generally) not consumed with terror and neuroses involving my life trajectory (or the trajectory of this project!). Everything I'm working on right now feels interesting, and it feels like movement towards other interesting things.
I still don’t entirely get the love and support thrown my way for this project (especially when you live in far off places and don’t get to eat bagels!), but if I were to guess and project... for me, I love hearing about things my friends are excited about. Even if *I'm* not excited about something personally, the enthusiasm a friend can have for a thing is contagious, and leaves me feeling really good, sometimes even inspired. So, maybe Jo Bagel has something to do with folks finding joy celebrating curiosities, passion, and sincerity.
Also maybe y'all like bread.
In any case, thanks so much to all the friends and kind strangers staring at this blog, and giving me such sweet support. There are still things I want to do with this project I’ve yet to explore (spoiler: definitely does not involve ever opening a brick and mortar), but in just a short year this project has been a big motivating factor for my life in ways I never imagined.
(also next year I’ll put the anniversary on my calendar)