I live with impatience. A live with a fierceness, always advancing towards solutions, the answers themselves call to me just outside my grasp. I am uncomfortable bridging the border between what is possible and what is not, what is true and false, what is real and imaginary—I like to explore those things in writing but not in my life. I seek certainty and definite answers.
I see weakness or indecision in the person, in this moment myself, who says “I’m just figuring it out,” or “I’m doing this job for now but only until something else happens or I realize something.”
I can hear the bullshit in that answer a mile away. Because what I’m actually thinking, just not articulating because I’m afraid I’m going to be judged by that person who’s listening, whom I presume has her shit together and is doing the thing she is meant to be doing and is with the person she is meant to be with, is that—I don’t know.
I don’t know my future. I happened into this position of barista and cook at this coffee bar in this children’s hospital. It turned out to be a livable wage and I’m honestly enjoying what I’m doing. Pulling shots, steaming milk finding the right combination of spices and syrups, figuring out how to whisk the eggs just right so they puff up without making a mess, and the perfect and effortless way to wrap sandwiches.
It’s messy work. You always have grounds under your nails, a splash of strawberry-banana smoothie on your shoe, avocado speared on your apron. You work up an energy in your body. You are never sitting. You are sometimes dancing to a hip-hop Pandora station. You are sometimes gossiping about the hot doughnut guy. (Yes, there is a doughnut guy and he’s beautiful.) You like talking to your coworkers who are about your sisters’ ages. Early-to-mid-twenties, in-between school and making rent, musicians, dancers, models, philosophers. And somehow, I, a writer, fall right into their mix.
Effortless, fun. It’s the kind of job you can leave there and come home and be home without the sinking feeling of the millions of emails that are piling up or the dreaded meeting with your boss, or the nagging issue you still haven’t figured out that has wormed it’s way into your mind and won’t get out.
At the moment, I’m happy.
I’m happy at my job. I’m happy at home, an apartment I’ve been in for almost a year. I’m happy with my family. I’m happy with my friends. I’m happy doing yoga, writing, reading, and dancing to The Current. I haven’t been this happy since I got back from South Africa.
I’m drinking in the moments at 6am, the sun hasn’t yet crept over the trees and rooftops where I’m writing, drinking coffee, and finding the right words.
A few weeks ago, I read Rainier Maria Rilke’s collection Letters to a Young Poet. And I found a lot of common themes to my lost-ness, to my dread of starting this unprofessional coffee bar job, to getting rejected from jobs when I knew I had nailed the interview. Frustration, desperation and fear mounting. And then I read this section:
You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can… to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.
That was it. Maybe I was trying to pull the strings the universe had handed me to try and figure out which one was the right next answer. None of them were. Perhaps I wasn’t able to truly live them. I wasn’t meant to receive them. I was meant to keep asking, “What am I supposed to be doing now?” and “How can I someday live into the dream of teaching writing, traveling, and publishing?” Those are still questions that I have. But I believe that at the moment, this barista gig is where I’m meant to be putting my time and energy. And hopefully one day receive the next step.