At age 4, my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I told them, quite matter-of-factly, that I envisioned three very different occupations … simultaneously!
Waiter, police officer, Yankees player.
Reflecting on those goals makes me smile. It’s likely wishful thinking, but a part of me hopes that 4-year-old me possessed the foresight to know that 20 years later, I’d leave a position at a reputable company to go live a more meaningful and impactful life.
Or maybe I just thought the uniforms were cool.
Either way, allow me to explain how my aspirations of today resemble those of 20 years ago, when I dreamed while playing Nintendo 64 and snacking on Goldfish.
Let’s begin with the waiter.
The best ones, in my experience, pay attention to details, diligently taking notes to ensure 100 percent accuracy. While receiving orders and delivering food and beverages, they playfully converse with patrons. It’s their job to facilitate an amazing experience for others. And if they’re successful, the customers will return again and again, demanding the same waiter, or hoping to see him or her around for a quick chat.
Waiters and waitresses make sacrifices to create a wonderful experience for others. When people come to their restaurants, it’s for those seeking retreat after a long day, or for old friends looking to catch up. Such places bring people together, and the wait staff aims to make their special experience as enjoyable as possible.
I can only hope that my work can serve as a much-needed escape in the way that a night out at a restaurant can.
Oh, and I do want to open my own coffee shop one day! So in a more literal sense, I hope to serve people and create a sense of community around food and drink.
Now, the police officer.
As a disclaimer, let’s ignore the power-hungry “bad apples” out there.
Like members of the military, police officers dedicate their lives to protecting the everyday citizen, making the ultimate sacrifice each time they step out of their squad car. They try to root out evil and wrongdoing so that regular people can tackle their everyday lives without fear, fully aware they may not return home that night for dinner.
I admire their selflessness.
I’ll never succeed in removing evil; it exists everywhere and always will. But with everything I do, whether it’s a blog, podcast or any endeavor I pursue, I hope to radiate as much love and positivity into the world as I can, hopefully playing a small role in crafting an environment of love, not hate.
Lastly, the Yankees player.
I used to love the Yankees. For maybe six straight years, I watched almost every game, the whole time mimicking Mike Mussina’s pitching motion and Derek Jeter’s batting stance. For the team’s season opener in Japan in 2004, I remember waking up at 4 a.m. to watch with my brother.
Jorge Posada was a hero. Bernie Williams, a role model. I admired every one of them. Like so many kids in upstate New York, I envisioned wearing the pinstripes one day.
Forget fame and fortune. I enjoy my silence; I don’t want 100 people looking at me while I’m trying to peacefully enjoy my book and cup of coffee.
But, like those guys, I want others to find inspiration in my work. Again, in everything I do, I dream of young people applying lessons to their own lives, hopefully empowering them to make their own dreams come true.
Waiter, police officer and Yankees player. It all makes sense. I just want to make the world a better place. That’s it. It’s all I’ve ever wanted. I knew it at age 4, and I know it now.
Or, maybe I just would rather pick up where I started this journey, watching Pokemon and playing wiffle ball with my brother.
Because that also sounds ideal.