So the day has finally come! Yesterday I finished my final day at Gymland. I look forward to putting that painful chapter of my life behind me. Admittedly though, I have mixed feelings about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am over the freakin moon to be done with that particular cesspit, but it was the cesspit I knew and understood. I knew what I was getting into when I clocked in at the beginning of the day. Who to avoid eye contact with in order to avoid being given more paper work to do. What times I could sneak in a break between rushes at the restaurant. I became familiar with it and how it acts.
That is sort of what food service in general has become to me as well. I have been taking orders from customers and making food for about six years at this point. Over the course of those six years I made it my own. I have learned the terminology, the people and personas that come with them, and all the right things to say to customers. I have become the ideal employee for any restaurant in any environment. The problem is this is not where my heart is. I have met people who love the food industry and don’t mind working for a corporation. I have even seen people prosper in such environments, but I am simply not one of them.
In honesty, some days I wish I was. It would certainly be much easier for me, considering my extensive training in the area. I have even been told by a boss that if I wanted too, I could probably make it to being a General Manager of a facility in just a couple of years. If I got lucky and went back to college, I could probably make it as a district manager within five years. That’s an enticing offer that I have certainly considered. The problem with all of that is I just can’t put myself behind the job like I can being a musician.
I have always struggled with my desires to play music professionally. Such creativity was never fully encouraged in my household. ‘Playing music and writing is all well and good, as a hobby, but you better make sure you figure out an actual profession to pay the bills.’ This was the general consensus in my home regarding such passions. It was never completely discouraged, you just need to be “real” about it. To always have your “back-up” ready, a.k.a. your “real” job to pay the bills.
This is a real defeatist attitude. That the only “real” professions are ones that can be measured out and written down. The ones that you go to college for x amount of years or joining in a corporation are the only “real” professions that can be depended on. Admittedly some of that is true. You can be given an estimate on how much you will earn if you stay with a company for so many years. You could also be told how much you can earn with a certain type of degree after you graduate. The question is, where did those nice, predictable jobs come from? From other nice an’ measurable job positions? Did two ideal positions get together one night, and after nine months, make a nice little corporate house hold? No. It came from someone, or a group of people, taking a risk. That there was either a need or a dream that needed to be fulfilled, and they did it. I am not going to sit here and pretend that I understand the complexity there is behind corporations and business as a whole, but what I do know is that it all started with a dream. Even the almighty Gymland started with a handful of fat guys wanting to curl something other than a twinky.
I can say all of this now. I can say that I have got corporate and business all figured out and convince myself that I am just trying to give you all the truth behind it all. But in truth, I have no idea what I am doing. Not to mention I am scared out of my mind. With leaving my old position, means leaving all that I know behind. I am leaving it all behind for something that I keep telling myself will be better. That it will be all okay now that I am following my dreams and telling the haters to suck it. But doubt does still regularly try to creep in and consume me. Making me feel like I am making the biggest mistake of my life by putting all my effort into my passions.
There is a story in the bible that talks about how the Israelite’s were once, long ago, slaves to the Egyptians for hundreds of years. That everyday the Israelite’s were enslaved they would cry out to God to save them. Eventually he sent a guy named Moses to free them and lead them away from their bondage to a land of ‘milk and honey’, Jerusalem. He was successful in liberating them, but before they could reach Jerusalem they had to cross a massive dessert. During that long journey, you could imagine they started having doubts that this whole things was actually going to happen. Some even started begging Moses to let them go back Egypt to be slaves. Enslavement was the only thing they knew and they wanted something that they were at least familiar with. Land of milk and honey is great wish but when it involves long days of walking in blistering heat and long sleepless nights, it turns into a risk that not all of them wanted to take. All they heard were promises but saw nothing but sand. After about forty years of grueling work, the Israelite’s finally made it to the promised land.
Whether you believe this actually happened, or if God is real, is irrelevant. This is still a great example of how that whenever we undergo a big change that is still under progress, we start to doubt. When we start letting doubt take control, we start to look at how things were and reconsider how bad it may have really been.
Was working food service really that bad? At least I had a steady paycheck. Even if felt like I was living a lie.
Was being unhealthy really that bad? At least I was comfortable. Even if the doctor said I may develop Diabetes.
Was working sixty hour weeks really that bad? At least I had my mind occupied. Even if I never got to see my family.
Was living with an abusive girlfriend really that bad? At least I wasn’t alone. Even if she hit me.
Was being a slave really that bad? At least it was predictable. Even if I had no free will.
Yes, yes it was.
I am terrified right now. There are days when I wake up in the middle of the night, in a cold sweat wondering how I am going to pull it off. I am cutting my paycheck in half and going full tilt into becoming an artist. I have no idea what I am doing. I am not even that great of a musician or a writer. All I can do is learn and hope. Learn my craft to the best of my ability, and hope that people will find this somewhere and someday join me in my fight. Until then I will keep honing my skills as a musician and writer. When I reach the other side of this journey, I will look back and see their grass wasn’t so green after all.