“Now that you’re living in Aurora, I can give you shifts at the Parker and Smoky Hill stores. They’re closer, and we need people there,” my supervisor said.
“That’s great,” I said over the phone. “Actually, could I keep doing one shift at Broadway on Sunday, just for old time’s sake?”
When I got my job as a sign-spinner in 2011, I lived close to downtown Denver. The gold-buying business’s nearest store was on Broadway street, about 17 minutes south of where I lived.
So, five days a week, I stood on that street corner.
Broadway and Nassau. For almost nine months.
To this day, I can imagine every detail of the sidewalk, the auto shop across the street, and the weird characters that lived around.
That job became a lifeline of drudgery, which I clung to as my life shifted in scary ways. Sure, it sucked… but the mindless routine was sweet relief for me.
The street corner became a second home. Complete with memories of the time I dialed 911… sweltering in 100-degree heat… dancing in the middle of a blizzard… watching cops silently swarm the check-cashing store next door… getting assaulted by a crack head…
I loved it.
Then, when I moved to Aurora, commuting to the Broadway store didn’t make sense. I felt a pang of loss. Hence, me asking my supervisor to go back – at least once per week.
When the first Sunday came around after my move, I approached the corner to begin my shift… and something felt different.
All the energy around me felt dead. The passing cars, the occasional breeze, and everything else seemed just a bit more muted and lifeless.
“I was supposed to move on,” I thought to myself, “but I didn’t.”
After a couple more weeks to confirm this was true, I asked my supervisor to take me off Broadway.
“The end of an era,” I thought.
It seems like such a silly thing (when your life consists of waving a sign, meditating, writing, and sleeping, small things take on significance). But – in more or less overt ways – we all cling to things that are familiar, even if they’re not right for us. Because we prefer suffering we’re used to, rather than the unknown that could be better. And we romanticize lame circumstances because we doubt we can claim something better.
How often do people live in the same home for years, just because they’re “settled” and moving would be too much of a pain in the ass?
Or the same job?
The same spouse?
How often do we declare something feels right, when we’re just clinging to our comfort zone?
How often do we overstay our welcome, because we’re trying to soak in the last bits of an energy field that’s already gone?
Here’s how to tell if you are.
“Am I choosing this because it’s fulfilling for me, and part of my growth… or am I hunkering down because I’m nervous about something new? If I doubt I can have something better, is this rational or emotional? What’s my evidence?”
I didn’t ask myself those questions. So it took me an extra few weeks, to figure it out.
Some people take a few extra decades.
I did end up seeing that Broadway store a few more times. Occasionally, I had to work a shift there. Then, as the business went bankrupt, I hauled furniture out of the store and closed it.
Sometimes, if you resist change, it has a way of insisting.