“This is your year, Lopez!”
That’s what my friend Stephen said to me when we spoke on the first or second day of the year. Indeed, this is the year I change my life drastically. I didn’t say “my life will change” or “my life changes”, because that makes it sound like I’m just leaving things to fate and hoping that this will be the year that things happen differently for me. No sir. It’s going to be different because I make it like that. Last year (around August) I decided that for the next fall semester (2012) I’d finally move to New York.
Now, I had a little help from a blessing in disguise. Because I had to drop my classes the last semester, I didn’t finish with enough credits. And since I’d been on academic probation once in 2007, they were penalizing me by not allowing me to study with them for a whole year, and not recognizing anything I did academically during that period, which left me with only once choice: work. Now, it wasn’t easy. I looked for a job every day for about two months. Every day I’d spend hours online, filling out applications, sending out resumes to every store and restaurant I could find. Only one place answered, but luckily, it was the right one.
So now, I have a job. I’ve had one for a little over 3 months. Since I earn tips, I only make $3.60 an hour. From that $3.60 I pay for gas, tolls, and any small indulgence I may have. Each $120 weekly check lasts me well; I rarely go out, so when I do, I never feel like I need to be frugal when ordering food or anything like that. I opened up a savings account where I deposit 100% of my tips. The only money I take from there is to pay for my prescription, but that’s because it’s an expense that isn’t a frivolity, and I can’t pay it with my salary. I want to leave for New York with at least $8,000, so I’ll have a couple of months’ worth of rent, while I get a job. I have a budget planned and a roommate already found, so it’s just a matter of adding more and more to it. Three months in and I’m almost halfway to my goal. I had hoped to be further along already, but you can’t plan everything.
I kinda love my job. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s still a job. I still get up in the mornings and wish I could stay in bed like the rest of my family. It specially sucks on Sundays, or when I had to work all of Christmas day and miss giving my nephews their presents. I worked on New Year’s Day while people slept off their hangovers. When people are going to the beach because the day is lovely and the sky is clear, I’m working on the beach, balancing a tray full of drinks and stacked bamboo steamers full of food while walking on the uneven sand. But, in spite of everything, all I can feel is grateful. It was tough getting a job, and it’s still tough for a lot of people struggling to find one. I’m working full time on a huge company, with thousands of branches in over 60 countries. I’ve made friends with my coworkers, and they make the shift go by so much quicker. I get to talk to people who are visiting my country every day and hear how much they like it, then have to explain to them that I’m Puerto Rican when they ask me when I moved here. So, to summarize, it’s still a job, but one I enjoy doing.
I hope you enjoyed that little recap of what the past six months have brought me. On this, the year of Amlys, I didn’t make a resolution to lose weight or be more organized. Those things are good, and sound good, but when we take them up as resolutions they end up weighing so heavily on us, and our expectations of ourselves are so great, we tend to crack and drop them about a month or two into the year. So, on the first day of the year, while thinking about New Year’s resolutions and how I hadn’t made one while I walked on the sand to retrieve someone’s drink order I locked eyes with a handsome man and smiled to him, the resolution I hadn’t made came to me. Be bold. Be brave. So, I hope you’re ready, 2012. I’m about to make you mine.