I Used To Be A Bartender, Back When I Was Working My Way Through Bartending
While the movie, “How Do You Know?” required no less than 3 alcoholic beverages for me to get through it, I have to say — a couple of the lines were real gems.
Like, Never drink to feel better — Only drink to feel even better.
Good advice, no?
And, Don’t judge anybody else until you check yourself out. That way you’re lucky if it’s your fault because you can check the situation.
That’s so… zen.
And, I think I’m in love with somebody when I wear a condom with the other girls.
Never have truer words been spoken.
I even felt a certain kinship with Reese Witherspoon’s character, Lisa, when she was talking about how it seems like everybody’s “regular plan” is to fall in love, get married and have babies, but she’s not sure she’s cut out for everyone’s “regular plan.”
Umm… Domestiphobic much?
Seriously. There were so many profound thoughts and quotes stuffed into this movie, they could compile ’em to create volume 537 of Chicken Soup for the Existential Soul.
But it turned out there was one that worked its way out of the mass of banality to stick in my head like gum to a shoe and I can’t figure out why. At one point in the movie, Paul Rudd’s character George says,
I used to be a bartender, back when I was working my way through bartending.
At first I thought it was hilarious. I mean, what a clever way for him to describe a time in his life when he really was just doing what he was doing. There was no bigger plan. There was no ultimate goal. The plan was to make enough money to pay that month’s bills, and the goal was to go home with the most attractive woman in the bar that night.
That was it.
But as I thought about it more, it became… less funny.
Because I realized, if most of us were really honest with ourselves, we’d recognize that we’re doing the same thing. We’re fairly certain our lives are heading for something better, but until then, we’re just floating along, trying to get from one day to the next. Sure, we might have generic goals, like buy a house, find our dream career, start a family… and it’s awful because we’re so sure that once we achieve these goals, we’ll finally be satisfied.
George even says, “We’re all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work.”
Many people love that line.
I happen to hate it.
I mean, really George? I just need to make one little change — finally buy that throw pillow I’ve been eying? Pop out a couple of kids? Quit my job and move to Costa Rica? Tell me, what is that thing that will finally solve all my problems?
Quench my restlessness?
Satiate my unhappiness?
Because if I knew what it was, and I knew it would make everything roses and double rainbows for the rest of my life, I’d do it without hesitation.
But that’s the problem with this type of mentality. If I’m constantly making these adjustments and waiting for the next thing to happen with the expectation that I’ll finally reach this ultimate level of satisfaction, I’m probably going to be waiting forever. My life will be spent like the greyhound chasing the fake rabbit ’round and ’round the track — thinking, if I could just catch it, my life would be complete.
The fact I have to grasp is that I won’t catch it. And soon I’ll be too old to chase it. And even if I did catch it, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t taste how I expected.
Contrary to how it might read, this isn’t intended to be pessimistic. It’s meant to be a revelation, of sorts, on my part. A way for me to say to myself, It’s okay that I’m going to work in a bar tonight. It’s okay that I still haven’t sent any pitches to any editors. It’s okay that I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now and WordPress still hasn’t Freshly Pressed me.
As cliché as it is, I need to start finding joy in my every day, because they’re passing by at an alarming pace. I can still make daily goals and work on things I want to accomplish, but no more thinking, “If only I had this, then I’d be happy.”
It doesn’t work that way.
I just need to be.
And the happy will come.