I had a real Smallbany moment at The Point on Thursday night. It was really funny. It turned out that our server Lauryn (the best), who had been our server starting 5 years ago at Provence, was the babysitter when she was a little kid of a server we know from the Pourhouse who was there at The Point as a customer and came over to talk to us. It was the funniest thing because they hadn't seen each other since Lauryn was the babysitter. I never get tired of weird coincidental connections between people, so much that it gets hard to explain sometimes or so far removed its not even interesting. Like... my new coworker's husband is in the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and I have a friend (who I met at the All Over Albany party 3 years ago) who also is in the ASO and so they know each other... my new worker's daughter is friends with a friend of someone who did a reading at my wedding, who I was introduced to by someone I went to grad school with in NY. Is it interesting? Are we sorted off in terms of age and interest so it isn't that crazy? Who knows, but I have to say I have never experienced this Smallbany phenomenon in other places I have lived, and my friends in Michigan say they don't regularly encounter this type of thing - like when I invite a bunch of people over my house who I know separately, and they already know each other in other ways. Fascinating!
Then, Lauryn and I got real philosophical in the bathroom of The Point. It was too good not to share.
We don't see each other very often, and yet we've now known each other a really long time. 5 years. That's half a decade. She said that I look different but the "inner spark is the same". You can't believe how time passes, how people come in and out of your life, how things that were once so routine get completely forgotten. Does it seem like who you are is formed when you are very young and mostly stays the same, or is it that you are continually formed by your daily experiences in ways you don't comprehend at all until much later? Of course, something's lost but something's gained in living everyday. Lauryn was talking about how time passes, and yet people don't change, whatever people originally liked about each other is still there. Its a great thought, and I mentioned how my friend who I met in 7th grade math class and I are going to see Britney Spears in Vegas in September (woo woo). Its motivation to protect the parts of yourself that you feel are most important to you, and when you are in a situation that doesn't make you feel like who you are or who you want to be, you should change that situation. Because of course, we've come too far to give up who we are.
I was unhappy in my last job in a really epic way. So much so that it made me realize how lucky I've been in the entire rest of my life to have consistently felt so happy. I had a really structured, high achieving childhood in a nice Midwestern suburb. I lived in NYC (most of it by myself) without really getting jaded at all - I didn't get mugged or attacked or anything. I moved to Albany with high hopes of finding a job I'd like and succeed at, and finding friends we'd have things in common with. We were then lucky to meet so many interesting people, and for me to find any opportunities at all in a time of severe economic downturn. The lesson I took from my first job here was that often your coworkers become important people in your life. It doesn't matter, Monday morning 9am, snow, rain, whatever, coworkers are a constant presence in your life. They see you more than your own family, and those people become really important whether you realize it or not. Sure, the people on the American version of "The Office" were ridiculous, but what viewer didn't feel at least a little affectionate towards even Dwight by the end of the series?
When a part of someone's life is just wrong though, its a little too much to expect them to put it out of their mind and focus on other things. When you are unhappy you don't have the energy to do other things. I really feel like the only thing that can be done is to change your situation. When you are happy though, you naturally do have the energy for all the things that interest you and make you feel fulfilled. For instance, we're talking about getting the craft fair band back together, and I'm thinking about making some retro kitchen inspired embroidery pieces like these (the fact that I don't know how to do embroidery will soon be rectified).
There are things in life you have to get through on your own. Also, when things are hard you can take comfort in knowing you were happy for the most part the whole rest of your life and that to feel awful is the unusual part - just because its not ok doesn't mean it won't be. Its nice to feel a lot more like myself.