Monday, September 23, 2013

Hakuna Matata

When I was a kitchen manager, I was the ultimate calm over the kitchen. I was one of the guys that rarely exploded when a customer sent their order of Lo Mein back, or when that mom came in with her three kids 10 minutes before close. I shined when I was alone, working a double shift, and there was a line out the door.

While my kitchen-mates would immediately start cursing and banging pans around, I would turn to them, look them in the eye, and simply say, "Hakuna Matata."

Inevitably they would ask "What the hell did you just say?"

And that was the open invitation to reach deep into my stomach and sing, "Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase..."

It had an instant calming effect on the kitchen. The sheer ridiculousness of the boss sinking into his best baritone, and singing hits from the Lion King, cooled the heat of the angry college kids.

But sometimes I forget the lesson that the Lion King taught me, and I in turn taught others.

Since July of last year, there's been this stress monster that just sort of burrows into the back of my neck and makes my chest feel heavy. It briefly leaves for periods of time and I feel great again, but even when it appears I'm having fun, my mind is racing, trying to solve all the issues Sal and I have.

It's exhausting. When you don't have a weekend to hit the reset button, like this weekend for instance, my body starts to shut down. Sal often thinks I'm in a bad mood, but really what is happening is my brain sort of goes into a hibernation mode. I just can't think of things to say and am too tired to keep up conversation.

Much of my stress is caused by things that I know will eventually be resolved: student loans, cars, surgeries, house projects, etc. But I forget to remind myself that these issues will go away in the next few years. I get caught in the now every time I see my bank statement.

I'm going to try to be better about this. Sometimes you have to just sit back and remember that problem-free philosophy.