Funny how at the beginning of a new year, our minds seem to always float back to the previous year, recapping all that you’ve gone through.
As I was getting ready for work this morning I began to reminisce about my time last year in Fort Lauderdale, specifically the last 8 months that I was there. The apartment where I was living and its neighborhood, the neighbor’s I had, the job I worked. Being as though your job is pretty much your second home, where you spend most of your time if not all of it, my thoughts swam here for a bit. I began to remember those I worked with and worked for, and I just couldn’t help but laugh. It was mainly made up of overly wealthy investors that had never worked a day in the restaurant industry, and young 20 year olds with barely any employment history. I pictured my manager friend, Dolly, who would have a mini melt-down when her managing status wasn’t being fully recognized or even slightly respected. I thought about the girls I got along with but truly only due to default. They were basically the “mean girls” of the establishment. Young fashionistas, that had no problem shunning others , never allowing for new people to really enter into their clique. Why they accepted me into their circle? I have no idea. Could have been the age difference? Could have been the tattoos or the way I carried myself? Maybe it was due to the fact that I could care less about whether or not I’d be accepted. Regardless, whether we shot the shit at work or not, I still wasn’t immune from their gossip. The grapevine didn’t take long to reach me, and like water off a duck’s back, I always kept it moving.
Those few months were spent with people close to 10 years younger than me in age and although I wasn’t ecstatic about it (I always assumed that by the age of 30 I would have been long out of the server life), it was fun for me to observe. Now, I know I’m going to sound like some middle-aged know it all, but I do remember back when I was their age, early 20’s, and thinking I had life by the balls. I thought of myself as a mature young lady, wise for her years, a hard worker who knew how to deal with life. Though, some of that may be true, most of it was way off key. I didn’t know diddly squat about life. I had no idea that although you could take steps towards always doing the “right thing”, that life could still come around and knock you on your ass. Back then it was almost a feeling of entitlement, a feeling that you could judge others for their “stupid” mistakes, even sometimes feel like you had the right to look down on them because of those mistakes. This is all before learning how most of the time you’re basing what is “right” and “acceptable” by standards placed on us by society, aka: other human beings. As I lived my life, I was humbled by the experiences I had gone through, and quickly outgrew my judgmental phase.
Not taking life too seriously was something that took me a while to learn but once I did, it was like I released my self from self imposed chains. You start to realize all the stress and anxiety you placed upon yourself by caring too much about the things you cannot change, and caring too little about the things that truly matter. I would watch and listen to my young co-workers and internally wonder when this realization would flick them on their forehead, a necessary wake up call.
I have since then moved and have fallen out of contact with many of these people, but still, I can’t help but wonder if they’ve humbled up some and have grown out of being judgmental of others. I can only hope that they’re currently on that journey, and that someday they look back to their early years and have that moment of realization. I hope that when entering their 30’s they do so with humble new hearts.