I recently served Harrison Ford, who told me, in the nicest way he possibly could, “May I be so bold, Brit, as to tell you that it’s chile reh-YEH-no not chile reh-LLey-no.” He listened to me practice my pronunciation a few times before he decided to order a Burrito. Come on, you couldn’t have led with that Harrison? I guess we can chalk it up to a double punch for the bucket list: Banter with Hans Solo. Check. Master the romance languages. Partial check. Speaking of, he did leave me a handsome tip (check for Harry).
I also appreciate tips from our big-hearted Mexican chef, who, funny enough, bears the name of a similarly generous sandwich. If I forget to put in an order of rice and beans, Reuben is quick to oblige. “For you mi amor, anything.” Then he asks, “But what do you really want, mi amor- el cielo o el mundo?“
So I have to choose… What DO I really want?
In this way, my serving job has been a lesson in conscious consumption. And like most lessons worth their (margarita) salt, I learned the hard way. I got caught up in the Jackson “work hard to play harder” mentality and forgot that I have never kept up with the fast crowd. Giddy on that “school’s out” energy, FOMO overrode my better instincts until I woke up with a moral hangover and had to reach for the proverbial Advil.
High season has shown me an error in my thinking: Faster is better. Busier is definitely best. I picked up doubles and accepted tequila “tasters” followed by shift drinks. My co-workers seemed so care-free, why couldn’t I just go along for the ride? I continued the quick pace thanks to cold-brew and power bars on the run. At night, I tossed and turned, wired but tired. I said yes to everything: work, alcohol, and invites. Until I couldn’t.
I collapsed at work, dehydrated and completely exhausted. Rock bottom hit. Okay, I’ll cut the dramatics; I broke a few tortilla chips on the way down but friends, family, and mentors quickly helped pick the (non-GMO and gluten-free) chip crumbs out of my hair. Their advice flew in the face of my go-go-go (GO!) schedule and extra-curricular activities. They challenged my sense of urgency and compulsion to do everything under the self-imposed idea that I needed to please everyone.
When I took myself to the doctor, she asked my age and did some quick math related to average life spans. Her point: “You are twenty-six and life is a long time. Slow down.” My yoga teacher recited a sutra which means: “The path is long. Redouble your efforts and keep going.” Another yoga instructor shared her favorite quote: “In business we get lost. In stillness we get found.”
Alright, alright. Point taken.
That being said, I find it difficult to be selective when choosing the who, what, and where on life’s menu. Saying no is not easy for many of us- it takes strong willpower to dismiss the eye-catching cocktail or to turn down dessert. But to create a high-vibe life, I have to be a little braver about sticking up for myself and practicing conscious consumption.
Do I want dessert tonight? The tres leches or the churros? El cielo o el mundo?
But what do I really, really want?
I’ll take self-love. Check (please).