Finally! Be Happy

personal stories, random thoughts, work

I waited tables for 11 years in Albany.

Mornings, I opened the restaurant. I wiped tables and tucked chopsticks into white linen napkins. Everyday, I repeated to myself:

“When I get out of Albany, I’ll finally be happy.”

Then I moved to Los Angeles. Things changed.

I quit waiting tables. Then had to go back when I ran out of money. This is my first day back. I'm dying on the inside.

I quit waiting tables. Then had to go back when I ran out of money. This is my first day back. I’m dying on the inside.

Now the napkins were red. Instead of chopsticks, it was silverware.  

“When I get out of the restaurant business, I’ll finally be happy.”

The next step, I figured, was: become a Hollywood assistant. Learn from an agent. Answer phones and read scripts. Nine months of napkins later, and I started at a management company.

After a few months:

“When I start working for a writer, I’ll finally be happy.”

But this time, I wondered.

We love to think that once we get our “big break,” BOOM, that’s it! Red panties night.

Examples of the big break:

  • Money – “Once I start making six-figures, all my money problems will go away”
  • Relationships – “I just need to meet the one, and she’ll make everything better”
  • Moving to LA – “After I start fresh in Los Angeles, everything will work out”

Seeing dreams come to fruition is exhilarating. When it comes to moving to LA and finding a job, I can help. (For relationships, there’s an app for that.)

But I’ve worked with people who’ve climbed very high. Their books got on lists, then on movie screens. They made a lot of money. Had sex with a lot of people

They still say: “After the next big break, I’ll finally be happy.”

Work for your dream. Get up at 5 a.m., work till 2 a.m., and ship early and often.

But if you’re counting on your big break to “finally be happy” — spoiler alert — it won’t.

That’s up to you.


Photo Credit: Geraint Rowland

2 comments… add one

  • What made you happy in the end chris?

    • Chris Ming

      I think I’m “happier” because there’s balance. I love working. That’s never going to change. But I’m making time for other people, spending time just talking and eating, weightlifting (this has been huge).

      To be clear: I don’t think I’ve “made it” or I’ve found the “secret” to happiness. Just that looking for the next big break ISN’T the way to find it.

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