Perfectionism was one of the main causes of the anxiety I carried around for most of my life. If I could just do everything the best, then my life would be great, right? I could control my world and nothing bad would ever happen. All my dreams would come true.
It took me awhile to realize that this approach was extremely flawed. The world keeps turning and things happen that are beyond our control. I came to see that “bad” things may simply be a matter of my perspective and that no matter the circumstances there is something to learn. Learning and growing from our experiences seems to be the most important part of life. Without the contrast of challenges, we wouldn’t know the heights of joy.
Now, instead of striving for the ever-elusive perfection on a quest to change the unchangeable, I choose to #SeePerfection in places I would never have imagined I could.
One of those places is McDonald's.
In Montana you can get your driver’s license at fifteen and I needed a job to pay my parents back for my dark blue 1984 Bronco II. When my mom suggested I get a job at McDonald’s, I scoffed. Then she asked me, “do you think you’re too good to work at McDonald’s?” My response, complete with a "perfect" teen eye roll, was, “noooo…I eat there!” I’m sure she could see right through to my real answer. By the end of my first and only week as an employee at McDonald’s I had compiled a list of reasons why McDonald’s was the worst job ever:
I smell like grease.
The grease coats my skin and makes my acne worse.
I have to wear a hat.
I don’t know anyone that works there.
The employees are weird.
I am not motivated by earning pins.
A lady yelled at me because I only put 15 out of 16 hamburgers in the bag.
Did I mention the grease?
And the super extra very worst reason to work at McDonald’s (drum roll please) was this egregious and unforgivable truth: Some of the employees actually LIKE working there!
Perhaps the laws have changed but when I was fifteen, the state would only let me work a
limited number of hours and I had to be done by 6:45 p.m. My three hour per day work schedule at McDonald’s was far from grueling, but I hated it with every fiber of my being. I would leave in tears, with Tonic’s “If You Could Only See” blasting from the tape deck. How on earth could anyone like working there?
Twenty years later, I am no longer confused about how someone might find happiness working there. I still don’t want to work at McDonald’s but only because I have some gifts I need to share with the world in different ways. I still think about the man who taught me how to get a new garbage bag to the bottom of the can every time I take out the trash. That one small piece of information has been just as useful as anything I learned in law school.
Twenty years later I also still eat at McDonald’s. Food politics aside, there is just no replacement for the Sausage McMuffin with Egg and a not-too-hot cup of coffee. What makes my guilty pleasure even better is that my local McDonald’s, in Whitefish, MT, is full of employees who love their job. I can tell by the amazing customer service they give that no one is forcing them to be there. They smile real smiles. They squeal with excitement when they see my dogs’ noses poke out the half open car window.
They mean it when they tell me to have a great day.
That’s more than I can say for a lot of people working in more prestigious positions. With a few more years of life experience under my belt, I see that happiness is about expectation and attitude. It is not about your job, or your relationship, or your health, or your bank account. Perfection can even be found at McDonald’s.
Please share, ask questions, leave comments, suggest topics, and tell stories! I want to hear about your moments of magic, miracles, and synchronicity.
Dare to be immortal.
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