Today, I stuck the proverbial fork into Cork & Knife. In some ways, it was a difficult decision. In others, it was a no-brainer. Let me explain.
When I started Cork & Knife over a year ago, I did so because I had a passion for fine food and drink and felt there was a void in the online world covering it. I am a big believer in the “new media magazine” concept that blends the best of traditional media with the improvements developed by social media. During the past twelve months, I was blessed with great writers, cooperative subjects, and interesting topics. As important, we generated decent traffic with very little promotional efforts.
I even had some sponsors lined up, but I had been holding them off because this was first and foremost a content project, and I wanted to time sponsorship with some new features I was developing and some marketing that was set to go.
Things were set to go in this regard a few months ago. At the same time, however, there were some personal developments that caused me to take stock and reassess all of the projects I was working on.
And before any alarm bells go off with that last statement, let me clarify what those developments were because they’re not anything too startling. Many of my friends and colleagues know that I have a minor heart condition that causes a rapid and sometimes irregular heartbeat. First diagnosed as supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) some 12 years ago, I have been on several medications to slow my heart down so it wouldn’t feel like I was on a treadmill when sitting down and reading.
In recent years, the diagnosis changed to atrial fibrillation (AF or A-Fib). It may be that it was A-Fib all along, or perhaps I developed A-Fib subsequently. Doesn’t really matter. Neither one of these conditions represent a serious issue as long as they are well-controlled.
In any case, throughout the past decade my medications have been adjusted up and down from time to time. The drugs used have been changed periodically. This is normal for any long-term condition like this because your body may adjust differently to different drugs over time.
A few months ago, the A-Fib went from being an occasional occurrence to one that established itself more regularly. As a result, the drug cocktail changed a bit. Not really a big deal because I no longer notice any symptoms of the irregular heartbeat (I used to feel like I was hyped up on caffeine — something I haven’t had in 12 years!). In fact, the doctors have told me I can stay on these drugs for the next 50 years if it controls the heart rate and it doesn’t bother me.
So, you ask, why would this cause me to change things around? Simple. The only unfortunate side effect of the medications I take is that they increase fatigue. When you pop several different pills that all have that as a side effect, it’s going to take a toll.
For much of the past 12 years, I have battled this by taking fairly regular naps — or just powering through for weeks at a time until I just crash for a week or so to regroup. With the new meds, however, the naps were becoming longer and powering through was not an option.
So I decided to combat the fatigue by doing something I had stopped doing when my first son was born 7 years ago — eating well and working out a lot. Now, I head for my home gym whenever I feel tired instead of napping, and it has done wonders for my energy level. Of course, eating healthy has also helped, as has reducing significantly my obscene travel schedule that typically had me on the road at least 50% of the time (I recently had more than 100 flights a year for two years in a row).
But if I’m not traveling, not eating out much, drinking very little, and working out more, that doesn’t put me in a great position to network with chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, bartenders, and all of the other folks that helped me track the fine dining industry effectively.
Essentially, I decided I needed to stay away from that old life — at least for the time being — to facilitate the changes I’m making.
That left Cork & Knife out in the cold. Though it was doing well, it really needed my active input to push the ball forward effectively. I could have continued to let it eek forward (as it has for the past couple of months) without my input, but that wasn’t fair to the audience, to my great Managing Editor Lauren Schulz, the rest of the writers, or the business itself. It just wasn’t ready to take wings on its own yet.
I’m glad I had the chance to work on this project for the past year. I had the chance to meet lots of great people and learn many interesting things. I will miss it.
But at the same time, I’m excited to look ahead. I have made changes beyond Cork & Knife, and in fact have suspended many of the projects I was working on in order to take some time off. I’ll continue my hyperactive board member role as Chairman of CustomScoop and do a little consulting on the side for fun, but for the most part I’m considering myself “semi-retired” for the moment. That may last weeks, months, years — who knows.
I’m taking it all one day at a time. And even though I’ve always considered myself a workaholic, I’m finding I like it more every day. Perhaps the way a friend of mine put it to me the other day is most appropriate: “We work to live, we don’t live to work.”