Monday Musings: Making Brunch for 20 is like a Marathon

This weekend, I hosted my annual Holiday Boozy Brunch. It is my chance to cram 20 of my favourite people into my 500 square foot shoebox, to feed them and to provide them with ample adult beverage choices. When has day drinking ever been a bad idea, right? At any rate, it is a sizeable endeavour to throw a brunch of this size, especially when you are a champion procrastinator like I am. It occurred to me that it is much like running a marathon. There are ebbs and flows, and definite moments of mental and physical breakdown, but in the end there’s just that pure sense of accomplishment.

If I were to further break it down, which of course I’m going to, here’s my version of the brunch party marathon:

The “Fun Stuff” (aka kilometres 1-10): This was about three weeks before my brunch, when I was in the warm and fuzzy stage of creating invite lists and imagining all the delicious brunchy type foods I’d make and all the delightfully boozy drinks we’d all be drinking.  This is akin to your first 10 kilometres of a marathon because that’s when you’re still just warming up and you have good energy, and running the race still actually seems like a good idea.

Uncertainty (aka kilometres  10-20): This was about four or five days before the brunch, the point at which reality set in about what I’d committed to. I started to freak out about where people would sit, how much food to make, and how to make sure there would be enough variety to meet different dietary preferences. But it was only a mild-grade anxiety and things still felt doable.  This is akin to kilometres 10 through 20, because that is when you really start to feel the run and wonder if you’ve made a bad choice, but you still have enough energy in the tanks to fool yourself into thinking it won’t be that bad.

Panic Sets In (aka kilometres 20-30): This was the day before brunch when I still hadn’t fully finalized the menu, cleaned, grocery shopped or started prepping food.  I barely survived the afternoon and evening and won’t even pretend that I didn’t spend several hours rendered immobile by deep anxiety. I was rescued from my anxiety haze just in time to shop, clean and prep in an impressive 5 hour time frame, during which I constantly cursed myself for hosting this brunch and still tried desperately to think of ways to get out of it. This is akin to kilometres 20-30 because that is precisely when you start to really question your sanity and your choice to run a marathon. You start to want to bail, to just take your time from the half marathon marker and call it a day. There is physical and emotional anguish and the complete lack of belief that you will ever be able to run another half marathon’s worth of distance.

 Brief Positivity Spike (aka kilometres 30-32):  This was around 10 pm on Saturday night, by which point we’d miraculously done everything we could do the day before and were able to sit in silence drinking wine. I started to think that maybe brunch wouldn’t be that bad, maybe I would do another one next year after all. This is akin to kilometres 30-32 because there is this funny thing that happens around this time in marathons where you settle into a wonderfully short-lived groove. You start to feel unstoppable, and like maybe, just maybe the last ten kilometres won’t actually be that bad.  It is a dangerous point in the race, because it will soon crumble into a 10 km finale that will feel never-ending and will crush your will to live.

Hell you are not emotionally equipped to deal with in a heightened state of exhaustion (aka kilometres 33-41):  This was when I had four last-minute cancellations as I was in the midst of trying to simultaneously tidy, set up the serving area, warm up my frittata filling, and keep an eye on two items baking in the oven.  I was tired. I was stressed. I was not in an emotionally stable enough place to handle cancellations (though, for the record, they were all for absolutely valid reasons). Logic had no part in my reaction. There were tears and a minor temper tantrum. I questioned whether I’d be able to pull it together and put on my game face for guests. This is akin to kilometres 33-41 because this is the period of the race during which you will want to give up and/or die. You will be in physical pain. You will not be able to handle anything going wrong. Having to stop to tie your shoelace might be enough to spark some tears. You are convinced that you will not make it and you have vowed never to run another marathon again.

Ending on a high note (aka kilometre 41-42): This occurred the second my friends started to arrive (coincidentally also the moment I dove head first into the wine). In that moment, I forgot about all the stress and frustration leading up to the brunch, stopped worrying about whether the food was good enough, and just had fun.  This is akin to the last kilometre because there is a weird euphoric high that spurs on more speed that you thought you could muster and which erases the memory of the 41 kilometres that you just had to endure. The finish line is in sight and you are high on a sense of accomplishment, so much so that you just might have to run another marathon…

See? I told you hosting brunch for 20 is like a marathon. I’d say don’t do it, but anyone who’s signed up for a marathon before knows that warnings do little to dissuade you from pulling the trigger!



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