Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life Lessons: Enjoy

When I was a senior in college at BYU, I was a bartender at Applebee's. If that isn't ironic enough, try being a bartender in Utah. It's a complete joke and you serve more Pepsi's than you mix margaritas. That aside, I really enjoyed my job and the cash that came with it. I worked hard, but it's probably some of the best money I'll ever make in my life.

During my senior year at BYU, they were trying to keep our hopes high. They'd bring in recent graduates that were pulling in a good annual salary for a newbie-- over $50k a year.  For some reason it lead me to believe that I could make that kind of money being a fresh graduate with a communications degree (with an empasis in PR! Don't forget about that!).  I started applying for every PR and marketing job under the sun before and after I graduated and received absolutely no interviews.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zero.  When I say I applied for every PR and marketing job, that means I applied for about 10 jobs.  There was nothing to be found in my field in Utah in 2003.  The wounds of 9/11 were still raw and open at the time I graduated.  It appeared that many of the first cuts companies made were in the creative departments.  Which seems so silly.... not that they asked my opinion. And the 10 jobs I did apply for were mid-management and wanted 5-7 years experience.  (But I had a 6 month internship under my belt!  Doesn't that count for something?  If not, I sure know how to serve a strong Pepsi... which is utterly useless in Utah, I know.)

So I'm working my tail off as a bartender and I'm graduated from college.  I couldn't help but wonder what the heck I was doing.  This is not what I went to school for.  This was not the life I wanted.  Then, I was offered a semi-management job at Target.  I think I was a Team Lead which led me to believe I was in management, but really, I was just an order taker that spent more than I made by stock piling all the shiny things hitting the clearance end caps.  I totally need 12 fourth of July themed napkins!  And I need at least 4 comfy beach towels.  They are 25% off, after all.  Think of all that I'm saving!  It was a complete joke and I hated working retail.  Weekends, holidays and cleaning up barf was not what I went to school for.

All the while, I stayed at Applebee's as a bartender.  Which means I was working about 70-80 hours a week between the two jobs.  I remember working and sleeping for about 8 months straight.  It was terrible, but for some reason, I felt like that's what I was supposed to do after I graduated college.  Work, work and work.  Luckily we decided to move back to Nebraska so Casey could finish his schooling and that put an end to my workaholic ways.  Or so I thought.

I have never hit working 70-80 hours a week, nor do I want to again, but I always have a tendency to keep my plate really, really full.  I am trying really hard to keep room on my plate for the unknown and the little enjoyments in life.  This is what I've been doing for the entire summer and it's felt great!  I've been relaxing and playing UNO with my kids without thinking about a never-ending to do list.  I've run outside with the neighbor kids and have gotten to know my neighbors.  I've even had time to jump right in and serve people in need at a moments notice.

Life is way too short so I'm taking my life back and it feels really, really good.  Sure, some days I think about the entrepreneur prowess I could be, and I daydream about everything I can achieve.  But then, I look at my two cute boys and remind myself that this is more important than any business I could build or any achievement or award I could accomplish.


This post was sponsored by my incredibly hard working husband.  Without him, none of this would be possible and I would miss out on the little marvelous wonders of my children's lives.  Their day to day is not extraordinary, but to be there when Porter first walks and Caden says, "Shake your booty, mom" brings so much joy to my life.


Stacey Nerdin @ Tree, Root, and Twig said...

I *totally* identify with this, and it's a topic that has been SO on my mind lately! Earlier this year I was on FIRE with a million different things going on. I felt so...impressive. And then our family situation changed so much and I had to start scaling back on things. At first, I was bitter and sad. And I've slowly begun to realize - THIS is what makes me happy. The slower pace, recognizing the quiet moments, having MORE time to enjoy MORE things. I'm beginning to understand that maybe the "next big thing" is really just being really great at the one "thing" I'm doing right *now.* I think that's way more impressive than what I was doing before. :)

deb said...

Enjoying life's sweet moments is worth way more than fame or a nice paycheck. I just have to remind myself of this when bad days come. I remember right after we moved, I had a few really rough weeks. I was lonely and adjusting, Caden was trying to figure out what the heck was going on and it was meltdown central! I was so tempted to find a full-time job. I had to remind myself that "this too shall pass." And it did and life is going great. It's not perfect all the time, but it's really, really good. I know you have a lot going on, Stacey. Hang in there and I hope life settles down for you soon! xo