“You’re 34???!!” My friend Laura shrieks at The Keg last night. Yes. I’m 34. You met me when I was 27. You attended my last seven birthday parties. You traveled out of the country with me. (Though when you checked out my passport, you were probably fixated on how hideous the picture was, not the birth date. There’s a reason the guy who takes passport pics doesn’t have much of a career in photography.) How did one of my closest friends, and co-workers not know how old I am? I know I definitely don’t act my age. I don’t even think I look my age. (I have the same birthday as Dick Clark. We seem to age well.) But is it something more? Perhaps, is the real reason people don’t believe I’m in my mid 30’s, is because I’m not where I should be in life yet?
Nothing about me screams “Maturity.” Most girls- err, I mean, women– my age, are well into their career jobs, or in full blown mom mode. The more my friends and family members pop out babies, the more I fear the second coming of my babysitting career. I, on the other hand, wake up every morning, put on a kilt, and wait tables among students ten years younger than me. I don’t actually feel older than my co-workers, but I most certainly am. (You can tell by my perfect execution of the “Steps of Service.”) I am aware of the age gap, even if they aren’t. Sure, not everyone at my work is a student. Some are in industries like mine, that don’t quite pay the bills. Like me, they have another job they’re passionate about. (Writers, dancers, actors…even a guy who works for the city. I blame Rob Ford for his lack of a proper wage.) Some are confused twenty-somethings, that don’t know what they want to do in life yet. And some are raging alcoholics, looking for the next hundred bucks, to fuel another night out drinking. (A category I’m not ruling myself out of.) But when does it stop? When does the vicious cycle of the immediate gratification of cash, finally get conquered by what you really want to do in life?
I’m terrible at saying “No.” As a well trained customer service buff, I’m kind of trained not to use that word. If someone asks, “Do you have Coors Light on tap?” I have to skip that word, “No,” and cut straight to, “Actually, we have Bud Light on tap.” Only then, can I complete serving a guest with terrible taste in beer. This word “No” has almost been blocked from my life completely. I have troubles saying “No.” I feel bad saying it to my friends… to my boss… to those chicken wings and cheese, even though I long to be a Vegan. (Don’t worry. I’m not going to turn this into a rape joke. I tried a rape joke once, and it bombed terribly. I’m just trying to exemplify that “No” isn’t the most comfortable word in my vocabulary, even though it’s only one syllable.) When you say “Yes,” you make everybody happy. I love being easy going, and accommodating. It comes natural. But I’m starting to see my goals on the back burner. Call it a quarter life crisis, or call it an epiphany, but I know I have to start pumping the brakes. (Quarter-life crisis only works if you believe I’m going to live to be 136.)
On nights when I intend to go home after work, and write, I often go out and close down bars. God Dammit, that’s fun to do, isn’t it? The problem with having a day job AND a dream, is that the day job usually exhausts you from ever getting around to the dream. When I go to work, I have the full intention of getting off work, going home and working on my book. (Oh, I’m writing a book. I haven’t told a lot of people, because I’m terrified I’m never going to finish it.) But inevitably, the same thing happens after every shift. Work was hard. Work was annoying. Work was physically exhausting. How can I do anything after working that shift?
Here’s why: I own a three legged couch. (I prop up the fourth corner with unused Yellow Pages, and just Google phone numbers, like the rest of the modern world.) My toilet doesn’t flush every time. I still consider my parents a back up plan. I consider a slice of pizza dinner. I pay my Rogers bill when I see (416) 645-2105 pop up on my call display. My dream of writing for The Young and the Restless has not yet come to fruition. I work in a fucking kilt. (Though I am Scottish, so this can be considered an ode to my heritage.) The embarrassment of being a waitress is killing me, and possibly blocking me from remembering that glass of water you ordered. (Hot water with lemon is the worst. Please don’t order that. It’s all the work of a tea, without the $2.99 sale, which I was never excited about in the first place.) And as I write this, all I can do is sigh. I can’t be one of those comedians who complains about not booking enough festivals, or not being handed so many opportunities others have been given, because I honestly know I haven’t really tried that hard. (I apologize for that last sentence. My English teachers always criticized me for using too much passive voice.) So here’s what I’m going to do…
I’m going on a Social Sabbatical. I know. Me?! The social butterfly. The girl who always makes you try a new place, even though you want to go to the same old, same old. But you guys, I have to. If I don’t, I will become the loser you don’t want to be associated with. Who wants to hang out with a 40 year old waitress? (Please don’t raise your hand, Dave Martin.) I feel like writing a book is something I can do, but for some reason, I haven’t done. Get it? I’m sure everyone wants to do something in life, and just never does it. I don’t want to be one of those people. My friend Claire helped inspire this sabbatical. She went on a “Manbbatical” a few years ago. She knew exactly what she needed to cut back on in life, and so do I. No offense to my friends. I LOVE you. But if a girl can ditch her friends for a boyfriend, why can’t I ditch my friends for a dream? I’ll be back. (And so will those other girls. At least I’ll be back with more money for nights at The Keg.) I just feel like I’ve hit my thirty-something wall for wasting time. I waste a LOT of time, just like Janet Jackson did, when she wrote all those slow songs. It’s not your fault. It’s my fault. I lack discapline. I don’t even know how to spell the word. I can see spell check has underlined the word, and I’m purposely not fixing it, to make a point. I clearly need some real disclipline in my life. (Still spelling it wrong, apparently.) So I’m going on a Social Sabbatical. That’s right. SABBATICAL. I’m officially grounding all my flights as a social butterfly. Here are the rules:
I’m allowed to do the following:
Work. I have to pay rent. But no more than four days a week, even if I start to feel antsy about making more cash.
- Gigs/Open Mics. Believe it or not, I’m a comedian that actually makes money with my jokes from time to time. And I had better start going to more open mics, cuz I’m facking sick of my act. I need to try some new material, mostly for my own sanity.
- Exercise. Obviously. I can’t sit on my ass all day. If I do, my “About the Author” picture will need some serious air brushing.
- Concerts. I’m already locked in for Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Ke$ha and Bruno Mars this summer. When I’m rich, I’ll be able to afford better seats.
- Writing dates. (Not real dates. I never go on those. What happened to romance?) Maybe you’re slacking on something creative, and need me as your disciplinary. I’d be shocked if you do, but I’m into it. Call me.
- New York in July. It’s my sorority’s centennial. Already booked my ticket. (Yes, I was in a sorority. Back in the days when I showered regularly.)
- Birthdays. I’m worried about this one. It’s ALWAYS somebody’s facking birthday…
- No socializing shall occur until I’ve written 3000 words in that day. That’s right. NO work, NO play. I know I’m capable of writing 3000 words in one sitting. (Hitting the “Word Count” function is my favourite part of writing.) Now I just have to commit to it.
That’s it. Other than that, I’m out of your life for a while. I’m grounding myself. (Take that, Mom and Dad.) I’ll be back when I’m done writing my book. I’ve been working on it since November, and by “working,” I mean, “thinking about it.” Look on the bright side. You’ll be pretty excited when you see me. I won’t be over exposed, like Beyonce. I’m not trying to be rude. I’m just trying to do something with my life. It’s not easy…
Signing off from my new home, Christina Land,
Christina Walkinshaw, aka Walkinsauce
P.S. Sorry about what I said about Janet Jackson. I guess the song “Again” is good, but other than that, I honestly just like her fast songs.