September 8, 2020

A Heartfelt Reminder for anyone Struggling to Turn their Soul Work into a Full-Time Gig.

I should have studied marketing.

“Hi guys, welcome in!”

But I just had to follow my heart. English degree, all the way. Perhaps my poet heart knew it would be soul suicide to study anything else—artist principle and all that.

“Can I get some drinks started for you?”

Or maybe I should have pursued business, like mom. She’s doing well. Your mom is retirement goals, my friends all chime in. Living next to a vineyard in wine country—business, the way to go.

“Are we just drinking tonight or want any snacks to start?”

Or maybe I could have been an engineer, like dad. Six figures sounds pretty nice right about now.

“The fried chicken sandwich is what we’re known for. I like to do mine buffalo style!”

But I love to write. Filling journals since I was eight, concocting fairy-tale worlds on long road trips. Writing was always what I was meant for.

“How did everything turn out? First few bites okay?”

So why am I here? In another restaurant—one I swore I would never be in again—spot-sweeping, eighty-sixing the dinner special, asking how many scoops for ice cream?

“Can I clear that out of the way?”

How the hell did I end up back in the service industry, and out of work in my degree?

“Anything else tonight?”

This was a new leaf. An opportunity to be better.

“Here’s the check!”

And now I have face acne from sweating through my mask while I smile at tables that can’t see my face. I scratch my eye after food from plates I’ve just cleaned splash back at me from the bus tub. And when did I last wash that hand?

A table jokes about having COVID-19 brain as I work full-time to serve the germ-infested public, unsure of who I’m coming across exactly. A four-top of heady hippies thanks me for my service, leaving a stiff $0 and lack of signature on the customer copy of the check.

“Thank you so much for coming in!”

But what good would sacrificing my soul work in a degree I wasn’t passionate about be?

Eight-year-old Taylor chides present-day me for fuming in the servers station, complaining as I stay until close, covering my ass while families don’t have food to put on the table, a job to report to, stability that I can count on. Eight-year-old Taylor—with dreams to write, dreams of dragons and fairies and mermaids and faraway kingdoms—reminds me that this is a stepping stone, that I’ve moved to a new city, that I should cut myself some slack for doing what was necessary—not what was wanted.

Each day, I feel burdened by my own need for growth and self-discovery. It’s a blessing and a curse to always search for better in this world of infinite possibilities. I feel like I should be doing more, believing there are steps to skip in the steps I’m taking.

Yet I know that it’s a process—becoming the person you were meant to be. And everyone’s dreams run on a different clock. I can’t rush the future; I can’t judge myself by the chaos of unfolding.

“Hello, may I take your order?”


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Taylor Cook  |  Contribution: 2,250

author: Taylor Cook

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