A chef whom I knew and respected died this past week at the age of 50 after a long battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a devastating and progressive neurodegenerative disease. His name was Gerry Hayden, and his restaurant was the critically acclaimed North Fork Table & Inn on Long Island. I had just discussed booking a dinner at his restaurant with my friend Kathy, and then she sent me his obituary.
Gerry Hayden stood heads above many star chefs in the kitchen even though he was confined to a wheelchair. Though his arms and hands were useless for cooking, his mind was still sharp and filled with ideas. Despite his severe physical limitations, from mobility to breathing, he ran the restaurant with a dedicated staff and attracted a loyal following. Gerry fought his disease by making his mind work harder. He knew he wanted to stay relevant as both a chef and advocate for ALS awareness.
We all have the ability to be relevant in some way, large or small. Yet some of us falter and lose our confidence and connectivity to feeling relevant. “Relevancy” by definition means “pertinence,” “having a connection.” We become irrelevant when we no longer feel needed, worthy or connected. But, makes you irrelevant? It does not happen unless you allow it.
Relevancy is a state of being, mindfulness and purposefulness. It’s about being connected to your Self and not being touched or swayed by the opinions of others, changing times or stumbling blocks that fall in your path. No one or thing can make you feel irrelevant unless you let it or allow cracks in your psyche to let something prick your confidence. And then you realize these people and situations are no longer relevant in your life. You let them go to open space for new people, experience and chapters.
To stay “relevant” means to embrace yourself “as you are” but also to evolve. This may mean making changes through education, meeting new people, moving to or away from a location or career. It also means taking bad things and reshaping them to give you a renewed sense of self.
I know Stage IV cancer fighters who, despite endless bouts of treatment and uncertainty, have stayed more relevant through their attitude and purposefulness than some individuals brimming with health, talent, looks and money. The mind is a terrible thing to waste feeling irrelevant.
Chef Gerry Hayden may have been robbed of a long and healthy life and, as a three-time James Beard Award nominee, a well-deserved medallion. But he was given the gift of a brilliant mind and spirit that teaches us how to be relevant.
Please view and share this video of Gerry with anyone you feel could use a lesson on relevancy. Or cut and paste this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjB3H6mTTXU&feature=youtu.be&a
If you want to learn more about ALS or make a contribution click here.
Tweet this: Relevancy is state of mind and purposefulness. It’s the belief that YOU always matter @mightymelanie #fearlessfabulousyou