Someone said the other day. ‘ I cannot believe you do so many things! Travel consultant, wedding and events planner, concierge around London, mother and … waitress.’ Let’s call the last one as we know it, the waitron thing may be PC but ultimately, waitress is what it is.
‘How do you do it all?’ she asked.
Then a friend sent me a link to an article about resilience in one’s later life. Overcoming pain and all that in our Silver Street part of our lives. It was a great article, and I read most of them.
‘How do you do it all? she asked.
Seriously, what is the alternative?
We get on with it. Adapt or die as Pieter Dirk Uys would say. We adapt … or we die.
Today the shift at the cafe required hours of standing, or rather running around. Busy, busy, busy. Times I am guilty of frustration at small errors made. I make mistakes myself, but rather than freak out, I keep telling myself … this is not an emergency ward, the toast may be late, the eggs too runny – I am the one with the ‘don’t sweat the small stuff attitude’ and ultimately the customers just want a friendly face, a great meal and time to socialise with their friends.
Now seeing the whole shebang from the other side, times I want to literally pull up a chair next to a customer who is yelling and rude, and even remind myself when I expect too much, that these incredible women have lives outside the doors and more:
- These people I work with in the cafe are doing two jobs at the best of times.
- Sometimes they have long shifts and leave the cafe to go to work somewhere else.
- During the week, they work full days and supplement their incomes on the weekend.
- They are often in London alone, have no close family and send their money home.
- And these incredible young women, working untold hours, have stories I don’t know of.
I don’t have to do this to survive. I do this because it puts me in touch with the real world and I see stories unfolding, everyday, and it humbles me. And I learn. The once princess of all goes to work because I enter a world I knew little about, a cauldron of cultures, creativity and youth. Many of these young people will work their entire lives to better their situations. They laugh at my stories of huge homes, maids and fancy holidays yet ask advice on what they should do, how they might one day have a business of their own. I learn from them.
These women, so much younger, my children’s age, are happy but wanting more. I hear my own children’s voices in them. Its tough out there. Pain happens. Days they struggle a little more than most. Like diamonds, they are strong and resilient. When I think of my journey, I know it has made me more understanding, more aware.
Tonight, Sunday night, I am on my office balcony in London. Cinderella of sorts. And in this Silver Street, I am all the better for learning from younger women who teach me that life is for them, for moving forward, for appreciating all that you have been given and never giving up.
Never in my past life of luxury would I have known the blessings of being part of something that an apron, throwing the lattes, could bring.
The body is broken after such a long shift, but the spirit is better than ever …