I was pouring drinks on Thursday night because nobody wanted to work that shift and I have a hard time severing ties with the old faithful bartending gig. I looked up from a row of Royal Flush shots just as the crowd in the bar cheered a wimpy little cheer and then got back to the business of washing down 2009. Was that it? The time on the cash register confirmed the passing of another year and I suddenly felt sad. Not sad for the year's end, but sad for myself. Sad for being away from the people I love because I can't let go of the person I used to be.
I wake up on the rare morning after a night at the bar and I feel old. And tired, of course. JG looks at me with eyebrows raised and asks me why I keep going back when I don't need to anymore. My friends are there, the extra money is nice, i don't get "out" much anymore, and so on. But it's all a bunch of crap. Sure the money part isn't all bad. But, he's right when he says we're just fine without it. As for the friends part, I think I know that I'm holding onto something I only wish was more meaningful. If you have to go to work to see your friends, maybe they are co-workers. And customers.
Bartending was sweet to me for a long time. I know my husband because I worked there. I have had two children over my employment there and was fortunate enough to be warmly welcomed back after each sabbatical. But it's not who I am anymore. Long nights and late mornings. It doesn't make me happy like it used to. Maybe because I have outgrown it. Or because I know a different happiness here with my family that can't be compared with the dark, smoky friends of a past life. I've squeezed all the good things I can out of that place and time. Now what's left is sort of dry and unfulfilling.
So maybe 2010 will mean a new leaf turned for me. Maybe I can finally put that part of my life in a little box and send it floating down the river, so I can stop feeling pangs of regret after too long nights and too long drives to a place my past smiles fondly on. Here's to hoping I can remember this post the next time my boss shows up on caller ID.
Happy New Year, bloggy friends.