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"Next time we are in, we want to see you engaged." "Glad to have you back, your pare

A family that often frequents my restaurant once compared our place to the song from Cheers. More specifically the line that goes "where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came." And although we don't serve alcohol in the restaurant, it never stops people from saying what is on their mind. Over the years, the restaurant has no doubt become much more than just a place people come to dine. For many customers, it has become a second home; a place to come spend time with their second family--my family. We have so many customers that have been coming in since I was 14 years old. They have watched me grow into the person I am today. Since our place is small and intimate, it's only natural that we grow on our regular customers and vice versa. For that reason my life is always on public display. I don't mind though, because I am a very open person anyway. However as one can imagine, when people grow on you, they also tend to become more intrusive. They will speak more of what's on their mind in the most blunt way possible. I am starting to take note of the things that are being said, and today I will share with you the latests words that really strike a chord with me and some quick thoughts.

*"How old are you now? 19? you look like a teenager." This one was a little odd, because the couple who told me these words have been coming to my restaurant since we opened. So they should know I am not a teenager anymore. I actually told them that, and they couldn't believe how much time has passed since we opened. They responded "well you still look like a teenager." First off I also still can't believe it's been 15 years since I started working at the restaurant. Secondly I just turned 30, and whether they mean it or not, the words "you look like a teenager" do sound a little comforting :)

*"Glad to have you back, your parents will be f*cked if you try to leave this place for good" I don't feel like getting into this one too much right now, but I'll try to make it as short as possible. I treated myself to a vacation for 6 days for my big 3-0 birthday, sort of leaving my parents in a tough situation at work. My mom even tried to pay me off to withdraw from my trip, but that wasn't happening. However I am back safe now, and they successfully made it through the previous week without me. But when I came back to work one customer began to rant about how crazy busy it was at the restaurant while I was gone and how my parents can't handle the pressure the way I do. Then in the most blunt way possible he exclaims that "my parents are f*cked if you try to leave this place for good." And although I wouldn't use these exact words myself, he was sort of right. That's a hard thing to accept when you feel like there's something better for you out there. My parent's have given me everything, but at the same time I feel they are holding me back from better opportunities in life.

"Next time we are in, we hope to see you engaged." This lovely couple who said these words to me are in their 80's and have been together since they were 16. I've known them since I was 14. And from my perspective they still seem in love. So the only thing I can take from their comment is hope that true love does exist, other than that I will most likely not be engaged the next time they come in. People always ask me why I am not married yet. I must get asked this question or something similar at least 3-5 times on a weekly basis. Besides the fact that I am getting older now, I think some customers genuinely view me as a good catch, so they are curious. Well here's my take on this, and it's pretty simple: I haven't found the right person yet, and when I do maybe then I will get married. In the meantime, I refuse to put pressure on myself to get married just because I am getting older. Or to settle for someone wrong because my parents want grandchildren. And although I love the concept of love and being with someone--I'd rather be my myself, than be with someone I don't connect with in all the right ways. So to make things short, momentarily this is not my number 1 priority.

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