Stressful Life Stuff

Going through some stressful life stuff lately. Keeping my head above water, but just barely. One day at a time is another 24hrs of struggle without much reprieve or an end in sight.

This might sound melodramatic, but the life  of an adult with a brain injury is tough. At this stage, especially if your injury is decades behind you, everyone expects that there’s really no reason to use it as an  “excuse” any longer. Neither do they realize, however, that the damage is permanent and with age the brain becomes more and more tired as it has compensated for so long. Sure, the best-case scenario sees an individual surrounded by routine and some type of support system, but unless that support system is ideal and the routine ongoing, there really is no way to guarantee a life that isn’t consumed by exhaustion. 

Throw into this mix an above average intelligence but quite a few “bad breaks” over the years, and the frustration and sense of constant drowning becomes the new norm. Good jobs are not easy to come by, survival requires timing and attention that often seems an impossibility. In a constant state of stress, your bio-chemistry actually changes and your body begins fighting itself. 

Life is cruel to some of us. 

Lifelong Learning

So, tomorrow is my last day at my most recent job. I’ve been in a position for the past 4wks as a server. I had been looking for work by the end of last year and, through networking connections, I was offered a job in the hospitality industry. But I had really never done this sort of thing before. Let me tell you…this has been one heck of a learning experience!!

Never in my life have I felt so inadequate! (Not even at my first school dance holding the wall up in the corner). LOL! Yes it has been that bad! Between my anxiety issues and slower mental processing, this was probably not the best choice I have ever made in my life – but how would I really know till I tried it, right?

My bubbly personality and willingness to learn are no match for the memory challenges, noise, and distractions that come in this type of work. For anyone reading, if you don’t already tip your servers well, I hope after reading this you will. I have now seen first hand how disrespectful and rude some people can be. Your servers work hard and depend on your generosity to make a living. Please keep that in mind.

After 8-9 hours on my feet each shift, a quick half hour lunch as my only break, an overwhelming barrage of stimuli including physical, emotional and psychological stresses, I know now that being a server is not for the faint of heart! Keeping the bakery stocked, cleaned, and running efficiently is a huge part of our duties (outside of being attentive to clientele, refilling drinks, and getting the orders right). But – just as in many jobs – no one thinks about the work that goes on behind the scenes. Let me tell you, I was appalled today as I watched a handful of clients who had the nerve to leave mere pennies or nothing at all as a tip for one of the most bubbly and helpful coworkers I have (and we’re not talking just a drink or dessert order but an entire meal for up to 8 people!)

Though I am very grateful that tomorrow will be my last day in this position, I am equally grateful for the glimpse that it gave me into this other world. I have a new found appreciation for the hospitality industry. And its not that I didn’t already tip well or say thank you a lot, because it’s just what I’ve always done.

As well, though, the past 4wks have given me a fresh perspective about myself (I’ve become more confident and sure of what I CAN do well, and a little more clear about what I’m not so good at). I challenge everyone to try something new this year, to put yourself outside of your comfort zone and see the world from someone else’s eyes. It will help you appreciate – even just a little bit more – the world you live in .

…this is my life…