I remember the day like it was just yesterday.
I was leaning against the greasy counter of McDonald’s looking at the morning paper. Jimmy Hendrix playing in the back where all the grilling was done and not a single soul was ordering their usual breakfast food. I was at work and there was nothing that I could do to make it look like I was staying busy, so I kept reading the paper. Every now and then a car would pass by and we all sort of lost hope in serving a customer that morning. As I kept looking through the paper in search of a new job I found one that really stood out. But before you know what it is you’ll need to know this…
For the past few summers, I would lay around the pool areas and enjoy the joyous screams of kids as they splashed in the water, soaking up all the sunshine that I could before the season ends. Every time I would be at the pool, I was always urged to become a lifeguard. I guess all that “Bay Watch” watching and the water really got to me ;) So I would say to myself, someday, and if not in this life than in another.
Now back to the paper reading at McDonald’s… So here I am reading the paper and Diane comes up asking what I’m doing, a usual. Diane and I did drive-thru together, she took orders, I served, and vice-versa. Can’t really say we were friends, just work buddies. I enjoyed her company and can hope for the same in return. Anyways I found the local resort, Massanuteen, searching for lifeguards for the summery season. I looked up at Diane and said, “You know? I’m going to be a lifeguard, someday.” She said, “Yeah?” Passing a sly smile and raising her eyebrows. I knew she didn’t have much faith in me, but who blames, we were only co-workers, what did she know. So she continued saying how I probably wouldn’t be able to do it, since you know, it’s hard work… I didn’t lose hope though, I tore off the small square of the ad and stuck it in my pocket.
Almost two years later and two other jobs, I decided to go for it and take the 10 day training course to become a lifeguard. Almost giving up because of how hard it was, and Diane’s words haunting me, I reminded myself that this is what I want. I passed and was happy. Happy with myself that I didn’t quit. Happy that I believed in myself even after all the obstacles I had to overcome to get to where I wanted to be. Happy because I was doing what I wanted to do. Sometimes life becomes a jerk and throws obstacles at you just so you quite. Sometime it sends people who are jerks and makes it hard for you to succeed. Sometimes it makes it look like it wants you to fail just so you work harder for it. Sometimes life keeps pushing it farther away from your grip just so it keeps its meaning and value, and teaches you to treasure those things.
Although lifeguarding wasn’t something I wanted to do for a lifetime career, I’m so glad I did it because it taught me a few valuable lessons that I will always cherish. Lifeguarding was just the beginning of a new spark that would later become a fire for something bigger. It was just a lesson, a test, to make sure that I could handle the “hard stuff” when it came in the future. Today, when I lose hope, I remember that 15-year-old girl who leaned against that greasy countertop that morning, and smile.