I was serving a couple on a hot Thursday evening on the patio of the Italian restaurant I work at. Their names were Monte and Paula. They were an older couple who bickered most of the night. Maybe in their 60s? From the looks of it, Paula had just dyed her hair a striking red while Monte was balding. They had brought their golden retriever who was hiding under the table. Her name was Sofia and she was silent as a mouse.
Instinctively, I gushed when I finally saw Sophia. I said my day was just made by this beautiful doggy with the sweetest puppy breath. Immediately, Monty started questioning why I said this. I was a little caught off guard because I was just talking but he took an interest in my unhappiness until I met Sophie.

He shared his story about how he started off getting a degree in kinesiology, which led to him teaching physical education, which led to him becoming a counselor for 30 years for LAUSD. He gushed about how he loved his job. He started asking about my education and he assumed I was a student but I corrected him. I explained that I had completed my education and how I’ve received two degrees. He asked about my living situation and my jobs. He proceeded to give me advice about looking for a job that I really enjoy by talking to people and maybe visiting counselors that may have helped me in the past. He encouraged me to travel and not miss that part of life.

All the while, I just listen to him but I didn’t feel inspired by his words. I thanked him and proceed to other tables. Luckily it was a slow night therefore I was able to engage in conversation with him. At the end of the evening, they were my last table and I was ready to go home. I dropped off the check and cleared their plates. Monty tried to start the conversation again about my career. At this point, I was tired and a little annoyed. So I decided to share my feelings since he really wanted to hear them. I explain that my generation, millennials, are struggling immensely to afford housing, to travel, to just live. Most of us don’t have families because we can’t afford them. There is a small percentage of us that are wealthy but the majority of us have to work two jobs to get by in Los Angeles. It’s not stopping there because things are getting even more expensive. Things were easier when you were growing up, I explained. I don’t want to travel because I’m trying to save up for a condo, which he proceeded to laugh at and said that’s impossible in Los Angeles. I explained that I don’t want to be spending over $2000 in rent a month so this is the only option I have right now that seems wise. I explain to him that I’ve worked in many different careers or jobs. I worked in retail, the food industry, the entertainment industry, education, and so on. I realize at the end of the day that no matter how much you love your job it becomes a job at the end. The passion dies out. I explain that I have no interest in networking anymore because I’ve lost my faith in people. To be honest, no one owes me anything and I shouldn’t expect anything either. He cut me off and said but you need to network and I said I’m sick and tired of networking. I explained that some people are just lucky or likable or they are at the right place at the right time. Maybe I’m not likable or I’m just unlucky? Moreover, I am at peace with all of this and he looked at me strangely and said we are of two different philosophies. I said yes we are. There was a time when a person like yourself would ignite this fire in me. I would go home thinking this is a sign from the higher power that I meant to do something bigger but that’s gone. I grew up and I realize that’s not how the world works. I don’t have a bad life and my jobs can be hard but every job is hard. At least my jobs are meaningful to an extent and I’m capable of doing it and I enjoy being around people. I feel like he thought I should be ashamed of being a waitress. This is my existence right now and it’s OK because none of it matters at the end of the day. I’m not trying to be rich. I’m just trying to get through life one day at a time. If something else comes along and happens to strike me then sure if not then it’s OK. Monty argues that sometimes the best things happen unexpectedly or by accident. I agreed and I apologize at the same time because I felt like he didn’t expect to hear this stuff from me. I don’t know what I love anymore or what my dream is any more or my passion. It was once so clear to me but now I’m just living. It’s a strange feeling for me to be directionless because I’ve always had goals since I was a kid. Some days I feel empty and I feel depressed but then when I think about it what am I depressed about? There’s nothing I want to do so why are you sad I tell myself? Just live and make the best out of each day. Some days I fear that I will be living this life that I have now forever without any growth since I feel directionless. I tell myself well what can you do? I can’t force myself to feel passionate about anything right now. I told Monty that there was a time when I was going through the five stages of grief and I felt sorry for myself and I felt like a victim but now I’ve moved past most of that. I have my days but overall I told him I’m just trying to live right here, right now. Not in the past or in the future but the present.



2 thoughts on “#232 make peace

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