First Draft Written on May 1, 2015
Funny how a single glance at a person you don’t even know can stimulate your mind to create a thousand stories only you can tell.
That’s what I did today – Labor Day.
A thankless job for an unnoticed beaut
I ride tricycles to and from the office every day. Today, as I waited for other passengers, I saw this teenage girl who was in charge of overseeing an ice cream shop. She left me speechless with her simplicity. There was no trace of vanity in her—a face void of makeup, a figure hiding beneath a loose shirt, unkempt hair dying to be combed. I bet even she doesn’t realize just how beautiful she is. One of these days, I will buy a cone of cheap soft serve, if only to tell her two words of gratitude with a smile, because I bet she doesn’t hear that very often.
A worry-free existence
When the tricycle finally left, I saw a little girl who looks exactly like her Lola. The only difference is she has dimple-like dots below her eyes. This cute child was frowning; I’m guessing because of the raging sun. She was holding some kind of food on her right hand, while holding her Lola’s hand on the left. She’s alive but has no clue what she’s doing. Right now, that vulnerability and innocence are her best treasures that she won’t even appreciate until the world takes them away from her. Right now, the only duty she has is to grow up, spread love, and be a kid who doesn’t know pride, resentment, and insecurity. Her only duty? To live freely.
Trivial lives ruled by perplexities
Then I saw a group of girls I’m assuming were high school students because of their chubby cheeks and mismatched, unflattering outfits. They were walking in unison while busy viewing the mobile phone photos they just captured in Iscreamist, an overrated restaurant serving overpriced ice cream. I bet they were excited to try it out, just to brag about it on social media by uploading pictures of them having fun with some liquid nitrogen. Their job? To silence those inner demons, shouting they’re not good enough. I bet one day they would look back at their teenage years and laugh away their first heart breaks, petty disagreements, shallow tears, conquered fears, and identity crisis. I hope the scars that these crucial years would leave them make them strong and hungry. For now, I just hope the Facebook Likes they get can make them happy, if only for a moment.
After a few more blocks, I saw an ugly ass car driven by a man wearing a white tank top. His posse of unwanted guys at the backseat may or may not be single, seeing as how many girls today are just plain stupid and have no standards as to what a partner in life should be. I hope I misjudged these guys. I hope they’re not douches to their parents, spouses, kids, and siblings. I hope they are fighting the common urge to mask failures and incapability with baseless conceit and destructive egos that will only make them intolerable beings.
Drowning in obligation
A few seconds later, the guy who had more things than his two hands could carry asked the tricycle driver to pull over. It took time for him to finally get out of the tricycle. When he did, I looked at him as he thought for a few seconds how he could carry everything to the restaurant across the street. He left behind two containers, crossing the road hastily to come back and finish the delivery. A hard worker, that guy is. Maybe he does it for his family. Maybe he does it because there’s no better job available for him. He was definitely tired, but not giving up anytime soon. How can he? It’s his responsibility to make the most of what he has.
No reason to stay
And lastly, the guy who calls himself a Senior Associate Robot. This machine of a man edits at most 10 website copies a day. He used to walk by himself while listening to his favorite tunes and watching people do what they do. He used to care about the betterment of the writers he works with. But now, bitterness crawls all over his neck. He’s just a busybody who’s ungrateful more than ever. The only thing he can do for now is find reasons to stay until he finally figures out what’s next for him.
I will never forget what a friend’s mom told me two years ago: “We work to make our lives better, not worse.” This is the road everybody should be on, finding “work worth doing.” Leslie Knope said it best:
Teddy Roosevelt once said, ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is a chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ And I would add that what makes work worth doing is getting to do it with people that you love.
It doesn’t really matter where you’ve been or where you are now, as long as you have hope in where you’d be someday. Our future is a mystery, but we should work hard so we could achieve everything we want to.
Work has always been and will always be part of life: from the moment we try to stand up and walk to the nights we stay up to review for an exam; from the interview we try to nail to the promotion we do our best to get; from the meal we cook for our loved ones to the weekend we spend volunteering for an advocacy we believe in. So why make it difficult when you can labor with love and passion?
Now is the time to start working hard for something you think is worth doing. Wouldn’t it be nice to somehow change the world and leave a dent in people’s lives in a way only you can?
Now, go find your team and get to work. – Leslie Knope