We love the practice of setting intentions, and while it can happen in any season — the start of a fresh calendar year always has us inspired to take inventory of where we are, where we want to be, and to reflect with gratitude on the last 12 months.
In the quiet days between Christmas and New Year’s, we caught up with Inez Valk as she traveled through snowy Norway. Inez is the owner of Table on Ten, beloved restaurant and inn in the NY Catskills. Born in a small town in Holland, Inez worked in the fashion industry in Amsterdam and Paris before moving to NYC and transitioning careers, eventually moving again upstate to open Table on Ten in 2012 — a rustic, homegrown farm-to-table restaurant and small inn that has evolved into one of the flagship Catskills culinary destinations while remaining connected to its grassroots, locally-grounded ethos.
As January unfolds, a conversation on what it means to slow down and see yourself anew: reclaiming our narrative, reconnecting with why we started, and finding joy in the mysteries of unpredictability.
"Honestly, after working the holidays at the restaurant, New Year's is more of a relief than anything! After a congratulatory, “we made it to the finish line!”, I finally get to take a deep breath and catch up with myself.
Every year I try to go home to Europe or travel to see friends, family, and recalibrate. By removing myself from my day-to-day environment, I find perspective and inspiration that helps me take stock, reconnect with myself and the spaces I occupy, and begin sketching out plans and projects for the new year..."
The past year in particular, I’ve been focused on...
"Finding the right balance in my work/personal life. This is a point that is constantly shifting.
The way I ran the restaurant for the last eight years was all-in and so interwoven with my personal life that I carried work with me everywhere—and loved it."
Coming back to myself means...
"Reclaiming my own narrative—not simply existing through the prism of work, but reconnecting with the curiosity and passion that gave rise to it in the first place."
Less doing, more being – what would this look like for you specifically?
For me, it means not moving through the day with blinders on, not losing sight of the moment for goals, outcomes or results.
More being means taking a deep breath, coming back to myself and being as present as I can bear.
Of course, I fail miserably at this all the time, so a few years ago I started horseback riding again. Riding is something I loved as a child, but most importantly, it’s an activity that requires me to be in tune with my body and my surroundings, grounding me in the present moment with each step. Rediscovering that feeling each time I ride helps me carry it with me throughout the day.
What’s on your "less" and "more" list for 2020?
Less Amazon, more local
Less anxiety, more trust in the unknown
Less expectation, more understanding
Less fear, more love
Less fact, more mystery
Less single-use, more sustainable