There are some things in this world that are just meant to be. Sometimes, when you do something or meet someone, you just know that it’s the right thing for you; you feel it deep down. In the case of Barry and Lauren, their callings in life found them at a very young age. The two of them exhibited traits that allowed them to find their life’s passion in early childhood.
In Lauren’s case, she loved to draw as a child, but not in the same way every child likes to scribble on paper when they’re young; she showed true passion. She always had a bigger design in mind, a blossoming idea. At the end of every drawing she would beam proudly as she handed it to her parents, waiting for them to hang it up on the refrigerator for the whole world to see; that was her favorite part. Of course, just like all parents, Lauren’s parents never really knew what it was, always looking at each other as if hoping to discern what their child had in mind when putting the crayon to the page, but were proud of her hard work, and happily hung it up.
These feats did not go unnoticed when she went to apply for college, and she was quickly accepted to the university of her dreams. There she majored in marketing, with a minor in graphic design. She was finally in her element. She loved her classes, and projects, and could not get enough. When junior year came, she felt ready to apply to internships. Lauren really thought she was ready and able to take on the world. She was accepted as an intern to a massive marketing business in the city nearby for the summer, and readily accepted.
Unfortunately, this was not what she expected. It turns out all she really got to do was be at the will of the employees. She made coffee runs, sent out people’s mail, even sent their work clothes to be laundered. Lauren tried to put forth her ideas, but to no avail. They just did not want to hear from “the intern.” Not to say she did not try. As the intern, Lauren attended nearly every meeting, and whenever the boss put out a problem or half-formed idea, Lauren had a design and a solution. There was one time the business was hired to redesign the logo for a largely successful local book shop, in order to make it appeal to the youth more. Lauren designed a beautiful, subtle, and colorful design that stayed true to what the business stood for, but also brought in a whole new target group for the company. She tried to pitch the idea, but as always no one listened, and she put it in a folder with all the other ideas that no one took seriously.
She graduated a year later, and was thrilled when the internship offered her a job! She figured that they had seen potential and were finally going to take her seriously. She bought a new, professional wardrobe, and when the time came to start her first real job, she walked in nervous, and thrilled to get started. Unfortunately, the job was not what she expected.
Barry’s childhood exhibited a lot of the same passion. He loved to be in charge, and often bossed around his stuffed animals when playing make-believe. His favorite game was to pretend he had a big office and had to make important phone calls. Every time they talked about their dream jobs in school, Barry said the exact same thing. Most kids wanted to be astronauts, princesses, or professional athletes, and by the next month, they all wanted to be something different and new, but not Barry. Every time someone asked, Barry said, “I want to be my own boss.”
He kept this mentality his whole life. He was always the leader of group projects, he often ran for student government positions, and when he played sports, he always worked to be team captain. As he got older, he also discovered his passion for the culinary arts. He could never get enough of trying new things or making new recipes that could either be wonderful, or terrible. He loved the challenge. Barry excelled in all his home-economics classes in high school and often recorded shows on cooking networks so he could try out the recipes and let his mom try them.
Barry decided that he wanted to go to college, to double major in management and culinary arts. He figured that would be the perfect combination for him to be able to be successful in his real aspiration: opening a restaurant. Unfortunately, Barry’s dad had walked out on him when he was very young, and his mom worked day and night to try and support the two of them. She had no college degree, so she took whatever work she could find, and it was barely enough. Barry knew she could not afford to send him to college, so he got a job at a local sandwich shop dressing up as a giant sub to try and get people to eat there. He worked there most of high school, and all the way through his four years of college to get his own degree. His mom couldn’t have been more proud.
He was eventually promoted to manager of the store, and started saving up money to finance the opening of his very own restaurant. Within a few years, he was finally ready to open the restaurant. That’s when tragedy struck: his mom was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. He knew there was not much to be done, and it was only a matter of time, but he also knew he had to do everything in his power in order to make her time left as comfortable as possible. He spent his savings on medical bills, and experimental treatments. Barry was broken. His mother had so little time left, and he didn’t have enough money left to do anything more for her.
On the last day of her life, his mother called him in the room where she was staying and told him she was leaving him whatever came from her life insurance, and also the house. It wasn’t much, but she said it would be enough for him to open his own restaurant. She had seen him work toward this dream her whole life and refused to see him settle for less. Barry cried and thanked her with everything he had.
In the next month, he looked for a building in town that would have good foot-traffic and that he could afford. When he finally found the perfect building, he designed dishes for the menu and hired staff. Opening day came, and Barry could hardly contain his excitement. Unfortunately, business was slow. Barry told himself it was to be expected , but could not help but be disappointed. As time went on, business did not increase and Barry was losing money fast.
Author: Andrea Bausch
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