It's my 23rd birthday this weekend! There's a lot I have yet to learn in life, but I've picked up a few lessons this far, including:
Side note: Four years ago for my birthday, I wrote about 19 things I learned in 19 years. You can read that here!
1. My place is in the Kitchen
I hope everyone finds their thing. The thing that makes their strengths shine and be used to their fullest potential, making them think, "this is what I was made to do!". Modern-day feminists may be mad, but I've found my place - and it's in the kitchen.
The whole story can be found here, plus as you read you’ll get to experience what it’s like to be me for one Saturday night.
2. A 90 hour work week is not sustainable
Been there, done that.
3. How to cook a steak
And how to cook 18 steaks at the same time with different cuts, ranging from still mooing to shoe leather, while you yourself are going on medium-rare having stood next to the grill for so long.
4.Don’t be afraid to be the only one of your “kind”
I’d only ever seen men work ski resort mountain ops jobs, but I didn’t bat an eyelid when I saw the chance to work park crew at my favorite terrain park. Overall the job was a blast! I ended up working my way to supervisor in the department of 30 men and one woman (me) by the end of my second season. It wasn’t easy (understatement), but I’m happy I had that experience, as it helped me out in the kitchen, where the guy/girl demographic is similar. Stop waiting around for representation and get out there and be the only one, whether it’s about gender or something else. And don’t ever let that difference hold you back.
5. how to run a chainsaw
And a bunch of other saws too (skil saw, band saw, jig saw, saw-zaw, pole-saw). Who knew there were so many ways to cut things!
6. How to be a wife
Love keeps no record of wrongs, don't keep score to make sure it's 50/50, cause it won't always be. Basically don't keep track of things, including your wallet and keys if you're Gavin.
7. How to be a friend
Ask lots of questions, even if you're one of those awkward people like me where this is not natural and you feel like you're a spanish inquisitioner. And don't be afraid to be the one to do the reaching out and making plans.
8.You cannot mess up God’s will.
I met a guy who was a Christian and a snowboarder (my only 2 criteria), and never got his name or number. Now that we’re married I realized God will have his will played out whether you think you missed your chance or not! Don't worry - YOU do not have that power. Full story here.
9. God's Work Isn't Always Glamorous
Two summers ago, I interned with a local organization that fights to end sex trafficking in Nevada. Sounds like I had a pretty epic job, right? Going into the trenches, snapping up victims and working directly with them in their recovery. But no. My day-to-day activities included Wal-mart runs for supplies, getting oil changes, and cleaning bathrooms. Trained professionals could now have more one-on-one time with the victims, the food supply at the drop-in center was always be stocked, cars ran smoothly, and the victims were able to use a clean bathroom. These are the kind of things that are overlooked, but still important. Jesus never said his work would be glamorous!
10. “Love what you do and you never have to work another day.” Is a lie.
Yo. I love what I do. But I work my ass off. Loving my job as a cook and one-day chef doesn’t exempt me from working back-to-back-to-back fifteen-hour shifts or scooping the gunk out of the bottom of the dish pit after a Friday night service. Yes I love the rush of a busy service and I love it when I see clean (like, licked clean) plates coming back to the kitchen, but I can’t leave my job when four people call in sick, both ovens break, and I end my Saturday night scrubbing dried fish batter off the wall. Love what you do and you’ll work even harder because you care, and you’ll be even more fulfilled.
11. I am my Own Worst Critic
I still remember that rare steak I overcooked on Friday, August 2nd, 2019. Chances are, nobody else does. At a recent open mic night, I got up on stage and couldn't read the chords, fumbling my way through a performance I thought would have Freddie Mercury rolling in his grave, yet still people were telling me I had the biggest applause of the night. People have the tendencies to over-analyze themselves, but realizing that tendency will help a lot. That steak tho. UGH!
12. Injuries and “setbacks” are what they are
Life doesn't have a ctrl Z button, so I can't sit around wishing it did. Breaking myself off while snowboarding, needing surgery, and being sidelined for months in all areas of my life sucked. But I couldn't do anything about it so I tried not to get bitter, thinking what if I didn't take that last lap, what if I took a different run, what if....... To be honest, I still have not found positive outcomes from the situation, but I've done my best to roll with it. Also through it I learned......
13. How to Ask for Help
I still don't like to, but I've learned it's not a sign of weakness, and can actually give others the chance to shine.
14. God is like that one guy from your group project in High school
Seems like he's just kicking back and procrastinating, but pulls through at the last second, saving the project. Whether it was finding a job, planning an outdoor wedding in snowy May, or scoring housing in Tahoe, God seemed to work last-second miracles, and I’m learning to roll with it.
15. If you can't Handle the Heat, Stay there till you can
Don't give up because you aren't an instant prodigy. I'll always remember my first lunch rush as a restaurant cook. And the second, and third. For over two months I spent my weekends completely scattered, serving up food that was somehow simultaneously cold and overcooked, taking over 40 minutes for some orders, and wondering if I just wasn't cut out for it. Now I couldn't imagine working any other job.
16. Don't take yourself too seriously
My co-workers and I are the biggest goof-offs you may ever witness. From saying "anything for you baby" in a weird voice to every single server who asks us for something, or all of us bent over laughing at absolutely nothing during a Sunday brunch service, or talking in my best Julia Child voice. We never let our goofing off get in the way of work, but we don't let having to work get in the way of having a good time.
17. Having the most experience doesn’t always make you the best at your job.
About a year and a half ago, I walked into the Lobster shack with ZERO restaurant experience or culinary school, and they gave me a chance. Now I'm holding it down on Saturday nights on Sauté section at a fancy restaurant, hopefully on my way to executive chef one day. They could have overlooked me as unqualified, but they saw I was willing to work hard and learn. I'd rather work with the dishwasher who doesn't speak much English who I just taught how to make a reuben than with the guy who's been there 10 years doing the bare minimum. I hope anyone reading this who is an employer of any kind will consider the people who don't have experience. Certain skills can be taught. Hard work and drive cannot.
18. Grocery outlet is the bomb.com
Same high-quality brands, like 1/5 of the price. #notsponsored
19. How to ask for a raise/promotion
I'm still working on this one, but I've learned to just do it. Show them with your actions, then all you have to do is bring it up.
20.Don't Knock it Till' you Try It
I thought cooking professionally would make me hate cooking and squash all creativity. Boy was I wrong.
21. Failing to Prepare Doesn't always mean Preparing to Fail
Sure you want to do your best to be prepared for anything, but when it's 7pm on a Holiday weekend night, you work at a seafood restaurant, and you've run out of shrimp, there’s still a chance to pull through if you are able to think on your feet, handle pressure well, improvise, and most of all, find a little humor in it.
22. There’s something to be learned from everyone
Even the seemingly stuck-up, arrogant cooks who I have worked with left me with a few new skills before they quit because they were "too good" for the job. Sure they spent most of their time man-splaining things to me I already knew, but at the end of the day, I still learned a thing or two. When I had to train the dishwasher on the line because we were so short-staffed, I learned something from him too. Be open to learning from anyone, even the stuck-up ones, or the person you're supposed to be teaching.
23. There are more people than you think out there just winging it.
Let me end this list by telling a quick story from the few months I spent working at a butcher shop. I’m not really sure how I got the job, as I had no experience, but next thing I knew, I was somehow trusted to run the front counter by myself while the others prepped in the back. I had learned quite a bit since I had started a few months back, but was by no means a master butcher. Then this lady and her friend walk in.
“I would like a beef tenderloin roast”
Easy, I thought. I’d taken apart enough tenderloins at this point.
“But Butterflied flat so I can stuff it and roll it up,”
Id’ seen my boss do it like once before, but he wasn’t there, and I knew it was more of a “master butcher” kind of task. You just take the knife and kind of go woosh! And there, what was once a log is now a flat square of meat.
"Hold on a second," I said as I scurried to the back to get someone more qualified. The boss wasn’t there, but surely at least one of the other guys would know how to do it.
“I’m pretty sure you just take the knife and go woosh! But yeah, I haven’t done it either," they said.
No more enlightened than I was before disappearing to the back, I returned to the front counter, where, of course, the customers were watching, ready for the professional who knew exactly what she was doing to prepare their 37-dollar-a-pound filet. I tried to pretend I hadn’t just disappeared off to ask someone how the heck do you do this.
Now, remember, this was filet mignon, so you could say there was a lot at steak.
I knew I couldn’t just sit there and stare any longer. Sooner or later they’d figure out that the person behind the counter was highly unqualified for the job. I took a deep breath and plunged the knife into the tenderloin.
Everyone watched as the master butcher made precision cuts. Little did they know that behind the counter was a clueless young girl who had, about a minute ago, considered going onto youtube and typing in, “how to butterfly a tenderloin”. So there she was, just taking her best guess.
And next thing I knew, the log was now a flat piece of meat. It wasn’t perfectly smooth like that one time I had seen my boss do it, but to my amateur eyes, it was close enough.
I walked over to the customer and held out the flat piece of meat.
“How does this look?” I said, wincing,
Her face lit up, “That’s so beautiful! Where did you learn to do that?”
“Oh, you know, the owner showed me a while back.”
Pleased with the filet, she paid and left, and that’s when I realized that what I had just done was pretty much a metaphor of what adulting really is.
When you’re a kid or a teen, you think that adults have it figured out - That they take every step knowing what they are doing, and are trained professionally in their field. But as you grow up, you have a lot more “they didn’t teach this in school!” moments, and realize you just have to wing whatever you’re doing.
Isn’t that what adulting is all about?