so i mean, i wish i could say i had an epic fourth of july spent romping around in my patriotic bikini, ray-bans, and my festive red, white, and blue manicure. but i didn’t, and besides, the weather wasn’t even that nice, i totally would have freezed my buns off (literally).
but just because my attire had a bit more coverage than a few strings of lycra and my nails weren’t laquered in festive decor, by no means dictates that my ringing in of america’s birthday was any less epic than if i had chosen to spend it in the aforementioned way.
you see, every year the club has a big ol’ “happy birthday america!” family picnic. we invite a few thousand of our closest friends (i.e. members), make a truck load of classic americana treats (bbq ribs, burgers, dogs, fried chicken & all the sides), create a carnival zone on our driving range, have a live band serenade guests all afternoon, and finally treat attendants to a personal fireworks show from the 9th fairway. you know, it’s really just an intimate affair. anyway, a shindig of this caliber requires all hands on deck and therefore, all employees are required to work said event. and i know that sounds like kind of a buzz kill, to have to sacrifice the most patriotic of holidays and prime sun-tanning time in exchange for time on the clock, but the party isn’t until the late afternoon so it’s not a complete wash and plus, we get to eat off the buffet, so free food is always a win in my book.
this year, we offered attendants a “photo op” in front of a beautifully flag-adorned wooden bench to commemorate their time at the affair. and guess who was the lucky lady who got to snap, snap, snap away at the mugs of hundreds of families? oh you’re so astute! it WAS me. sarcasm aside, it really was the perfect way to spend my shift. the time flew by with every flash of the camera lens and each encounter with a club member family simply served to remind me just how much i relish in the relationships i have formed over my almost five year stint at la jolla. and before i knew it, 7:30 p.m. had arrived and my photographical duties had concluded. and in a crowd of 1500+, the one face i was the happiest to see as the proverbial 5:00 p.m. whistle sounded was that of my sweet guy’s as he had made the trek up the 18th fairway to witness the hysteria of the event first hand.
and once reunited we were able to enjoy some of the festivities for ourselves -most notably of the food variety. i mean, i wasn’t one to deny him a few platefuls of tri-tip and pulled pork now, was i?
and from the club, we eventually went on to share the firework (yes SINGULAR) with his brother, sister-in-law, and a few dozen of their friends down by the bay (where the watermelons grow) before finally calling it an early night.
and despite the lack of pyrotechnics display in the sky, i must say that it really was a fabulous fourth on the whole. if only for the fact that i wore a really really cute outfit (which of course i was TOTALLY remiss in capturing on film, oh the irony). no but really, this particular birthday celebration for the U.S. of A was quite special, indeed. and i think i just realized exactly why.
so, you know, for being such a wordsmith (little miss humble, aren’t we?), i certainly get tongue tied when i try to explain the many facets of my job to well, anyone who will listen. i mean, yes, my official title is “director of membership/kind of a big deal” at la jolla country club (okay, so i made up the second part), but i often feel as though that title, while it is certainly nothing to sneeze at, fails in describing the many hats outside of the membership realm that i seem to don on a daily basis. and i’m a pretty good story teller (again with the humbleness), so i have certainly recounted a tail or two on what makes my job so dang special but even then, sometimes the sentiment is simply lost in translation. so when my guy was able to “see me in action” per se, when he stumbled upon me as i finished up my photog duties prior to my shift’s completion, it was a very special moment indeed. for it was the first time that a boyfriend had ever visited my place of employment. but further than that, it was the first time that i was able to share my “other life;” the professional version of me, with anyone (okay, kind of a lie – my parents came to visit like four years ago); the first time i was able to allow someone a glimpse of where/what/and who with i spend 40 hours of my week. and i’m not going to lie, it gave me a big sense of pride to allow him a peek into this realm. maybe because for the first time in a long time, i truly believe i’m good at what i do. and i can’t help but think that the strength of the relationships i have built with my colleagues and maybe more importantly, with the members themselves, echo the sentiment, too.
sometimes i forget how incredibly blessed i am to have a job to come to five days a week that offers (not always, but most days) me not only the professional satisfaction, but rather the emotional satisfaction i have always craved in a vocation. i always said that no amount of salary could compensate for a crummy work life (i mean, maybe if i was earning oprah’s salary, i’d be singing a different tune) and that if i ever dreaded coming to work (other than the obligatory, UGH moment upon realization that monday had all but snuck up on you) once that morning alarm sounded, that i would legitimately seek a new course for my professional life. and sure, some days (heck even weeks) are no picnic. but then i get an email from a member riddled with comments of gratitude and praise over a seemingly silly task i was all but happy to oblige her with. and that “atta girl” message from the bossman lands in my inbox, too. and i remember what makes it all worth it. taking the good with the bad. learning that biting my tongue is oftentimes necessary, but also realizing that i’ve earned the respect of my colleagues enough to warrant the occasional voice of opinion, too.
i am so thankful for the trials i have endured over these past five years. the dark times (and there were many) and the times when i really did think my work week consisted of five monday mornings instead of just one. but i wouldn’t trade those moments for the world (okay, i might trade a few of them). because to quote kelly clarkson, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and because sometimes you have to endure the storm to truly appreciate the rainbow. because from those dark times has come knowledge, an inner strength i never knew i had, and most assuredly, a truer sense of self overall.
and now i’ve gone from simply recapping my fourth of july to a reflective peace on what it means to have a sense of self within the confines of your occupation. which you know, is simply par for the course, right? who am i to come to a point in a straight line? pish posh.
but seriously, this fourth will be remembered for a myriad of reasons, i mean for one, that whole firework fail, but maybe most notably for the fact that i was able to share another facet of my life with my guy. i don’t think anyone goes into a relationship thinking, “man, i can’t wait to have my boyfriend come visit me at work (unless you work at google, then yes, i feel as though that thought might cross your mind a few dozen times)!” but if the opportunity for said visit should occur, it’s really nice knowing that the place i call my second home is one that i’m proud to show off.