Oh man, I feel nervous writing again. I was so scared I lost the groove because I have been struggling finding the energy or the inspiration to write, especially these past months. For a long time I couldn’t find the right words or the courage to let all my issues out. Now that I finally overcame the curse of the blank page, let me begin by telling you about my work.
Around April this year, I ended my unpaid internship at the Embassy and started working as a full-time waitress at a restaurant. Some of you may be wondering, “You have a college degree, right? Why work as a waitress? Couldn’t you find a better job?” For all of you concerned, it is quite complicated. Everything about my life became much more complicated since I moved here in the States. I don’t want to give you a headache with immigration terms and conditions, so let’s leave it at ‘It’s complicated’.
Being a waitress/cashier/hostess at a restaurant was a brand new experience to me. It has never occurred to me that I’d get paid serving someone their lunch or dinner. To be totally honest, I was too proud to do the job at first. But after a week of learning how to carry three or more plates at a time and learning what ikura, tamago, and masago is (I work at a Japanese-Chinese-Thai restaurant), I am thankful at how this job has humbled me and put me in my place. I have begun to appreciate the worth of every hard-earned dollar. The experience definitely honed my focus and multi-tasking skills. But most of all, it has improved my confidence in talking to people and engaging them in conversation. Although, unfairly good-looking customers still faze me a bit, the fact that I can ask them how their day went without hyperventilating is a good improvement to my esteem. Gee, thanks to this job. Other than that, other perks to my job include being surrounded by good food all the time (and getting 30% employee discount on all entrees!) and getting to meet the fun co-workers that I have.
BUT! Despite the fast cash and free sushi buffets, there are still a number of reasons why this job sucks. I hate that full-time work to my boss means working six days a week, from 10am to 10pm. My boss doesn’t want to hire a lot of people so I’m covering a lot of shifts at the moment. This arrangement is the reason why I have zero social life. Anyone working in the restaurant industry knows that Friday and Saturday are the busiest, so that’s off the negotiation table for day-offs.
Another thing I despise is how monotonous a day can get. Rush hour is only five hours tops in a day where I work, so the rest of them is basically free time. Sometimes I just really wish I was doing something creative. It’s hard not to feel like I’m wasting my time and my life when there is no business at all. All the idle time only creates space for unnecessary thoughts and worries.
Lately, I’ve been feeling really blue and anxious about my current situation and my future. Feelings like, “I never wanted to be in this situation in the first place” or “I didn’t graduate college for this” would come to the surface and it’s taking too much space in my head it’s becoming harder to ignore. I know that I wish I was doing something else, but the problem is not knowing what that something else is. I wouldn’t know where to go or what to do if one day I decide to quit. Several times I imagine myself running far far away, away from all this ennui, and off to discover my life’s passion. Like that’s so easy to do when you’re broke!
It’s such a struggle, isn’t it? To feel so stuck and clueless. To feel lost and to not know where to look to be freed and be found. I owe myself at least the resolve to figure the next stone on the path, but right now all I can offer myself is a shrug.
I have been captured by this riveting thought David Sedaris has implanted in my mind. In one of his essays in his book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, a Mrs. Dunston said,
“Me, I have a son at the college, so that’s what I’m doing, just checking in. He’s my second boy, actually. The first one went here too. He’s not working in his field yet, but with unemployment as high as it is. he’s lucky to have anything at all. If I’ve told him that once, I’ve told him a hundred times, but of course, being young, he’s impatient, which is natural. Wants to set the world on fire, and if it can’t happen by tomorrow at nine a.m., then life’s just unfair and hardly worth living…”
That is the plain truth — for me and for the rest of my kind of this generation. We are growing more and more impatient with our lives that when we don’t achieve our desired success RIGHT NOW, we get really frustrated that we start blaming the universe for being so unfair to us. We forget that apart from wanting our success, we should DESERVE it to have it. And we wouldn’t deserve it if we don’t work hard at something.
On the positive side, I think now is the perfect time to be lost, to wander, and to try everything until you find the One thing you want to do for the rest of your life. We just get frustrated because we are all in a rush to our supposedly happy destination, but we can’t really find that overnight, can we? I agree to working hard and collecting all the experiences that I can so when the right time to strike comes, I will be prepared to set the world on fire. Who knows, maybe tomorrow at nine a.m.?