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A Bag of Sand

Santa Theresa, Costa Rica

A very tan couple sat at the bar. The gleam from the woman’s extremely large diamond ring was hard to miss as she slid a gift toward the bartender.

“We brought you something back from Hawaii.”

The bartender smiled and said, “I know what this is.”

I was watching not only out of interest, but because part time, I work as a hostess at a restaurant. The bar is right next to where I stand for 5 hours a shift greeting customers and seating them. I watch people drink, eat expensive appetizers and talk about their lives. The clientele is generally successful, they are business owners and politicians who have access to anything they want.  Working at a restaurant is something that I have done for years, but it is really something I didn’t think I would have to do again.  I had just finished a thesis for Master’s in the growing field of sustainability. My resume is incredible and I rock at interviews. But looking for a job felt like blind dating. I put a lot of energy out and either got nothing back or a few bad matches. I felt like I was throwing my information into a black hole, nobody was responding and nobody wanted me. I rarely heard back from anyone that they had even gotten my resume. My ego was severely bruised, and I knew I didn’t belong in a corporate setting anyway.

I had started Manifest Ink, LLC before I left the country for my Master’s. I decided to renew the company name and start fresh. I wanted to work with small businesses and help them get their message out into the world with great copy, help with social media and other marketing strategies. Working at a restaurant became a necessity to get the company off the ground.

The bartender opened the gift, a bag of sand and a bottle of tanning oil, and she was thrilled. “Sand from our beach! It’s exactly what you wanted,” said the tan woman. The bartender nodded. “Thank you so much!”

I turned away, jealous. Not for the bag of sand of course, but for the fact that I was working at a restaurant with patrons who don’t go to beaches, they own them. I suddenly felt like a failure, watching this event, not even close to buying a trip to a local beach. I went back to work, defeated. I have only been working at Manifest Ink for a few months, but suddenly the journey felt very long and nearly impossible. I wondered if I should start applying for boring jobs again and look for something ‘easier.’

As the woman and man stood to leave they stopped in front of my stand.

“I hope you enjoyed your lunch!” I said as cheerily as possible. The woman nodded.

“We wanted to tell you something, actually,” she said with a smile. “We have been watching you work, and you are really good at what you do…it seems you are very much in control of what is going on, and that is important.”

I stood stunned but smiled back. That particular day had be rough anyway, servers had treated me poorly, and I was incredibly envious of the wealthy people at our bar.

“That means so much, thank you….I was jealous to hear you own a beach, actually,” I said sheepishly.

“We heard you are doing something else besides this, and we know you will be successful.” Then turned to her husband as he said, “It takes hard work, but you will get there, I see it in you.”

I nodded. “You made my day.”

I don’t know why this couple decided to tell me that, but it is what I needed to keep going. Manifest Ink is important to me, but I also want to help other small businesses succeed. Their words made me more aware of sharing that kind of energy with others when I feel it. It made me see outside of my situation and look towards the bigger picture. Success isn’t easy, but the freedom of owning my own company and working with inspirational people is worth more than any job could ever give me.

I know that because I am following my passion, things will work out for me, but it’s nice and sometimes necessary to hear it from someone else.

So to the couple from the restaurant, if I don’t see you at the restaurant, I’ll see you on the beach. My beach of course.






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