It’s November. I’ve been a college graduate for seven months now. And I work in a restaurant. And like every college graduate, I’ve been bombarded with the questions, “What are you doing now?” “Applying for jobs?” “Going to graduate school?”
Negative. I currently work in a restaurant and martini bar as a server. And to be honest, I don’t hate it at all – the staff is my family, many of them being my closest friends. And who doesn’t love cheesesteak eggrolls, lobster mac and cheese, or disgustingly sweet tang martinis (cleverly coined “Astronauts”) !? Certainly a guilty pleasure of mine.
I just graduated Temple University in North Philadelphia for theatre, with a concentration in acting, thinking I wanted to have a life in the magical world of theater… But truth be told, I have no idea what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. What I do know?… That I don’t want to be doing just one thing for the entirety of my life: I plan on having multiple careers and keeping my mind open to all possibilities. And until then, I am perfectly happy working in the restaurant industry.
To start, I believe that everyone has their own, individual path in life, affected by both nature and nurture. I don’t pass judgement on those who have a career in restaurants or those who are accomplished doctors; they are both equal in my eyes as long as they are happy. Everyone has their own reasons for who they are, influenced by different people and different life experiences. Behind every person there is a story, a reason why they are who they are. I try, always, to be understanding in people before passing judgement. If someone is living a happy life while working at a less “admirable” job (as deemed by society), who cares?
What I want in this very moment are life experiences. I may not know who I am or what my purpose is, but I know I can be a better person by experiencing as much as life has to offer. Until I want to settle down and invest in a long-term career, I will be enjoying the world around me. A full-time career can wait; If I am young and have nothing holding me down, why should I be worried? I should be traveling, going out, meeting people, and taking advantage of life.
And from the little travel I have done, that is what I have learned. It seems America is one of the few countries obsessed with work and establishing a career, while other countries are focused on living, exploring, laughing, and enjoying life. I don’t believe in going to college right after high school, or going to graduate school right after college, in hopes of landing a good-paying job. Personally, I could have used a couple of years after high school to work and figure myself out a little more before spending thousands of dollars guessing on a career. But American society has mandated this structured system of education without taking into account personal experiences. Everyone grows up in different homes, influenced by different things. Not everyone progresses in the same way or at the same speed. I am content with living an unconventional life, if you want to call it that; I just care about being happy. And that is not determined by society, it is determined by me. I am all for living your own life, and if that doesn’t line up with what society has structured, or what your parents want, fuck it; your life belongs to you.
I work in a restaurant and I am happy. I am not meant for a serious, full-time career…right now. I am 22 years old and want nothing more than to be free. I am going to do what makes me happy in this very moment, and if what I want changes tomorrow, then I will change tomorrow, too. But until then, I’ll be exploring the world, the country, and myself. And serving cheesesteak eggrolls and Astronauts. 😉