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Friday, June 05, 2015

Finding Growth In An Unusual Place At 31...

I don't have any real negative feelings about year thirty-one in general.  But I don't have a whole lot of positive feelings about thirty-one either.  In fact, 31 was probably one of the most boring years that I have ever had in my life.

But you know, sometimes that could be a good thing.  The whole period between 28 and 30 were quite exciting and busy, so it was nice to have a year in which I could kick back and relax.

Now that being said, I really had a hard time coming up with a story to tell about this particular time period.  It was one of those years in which all the things that did happen, I already talked about (mourning the loss of a friend, which I talked about around year 26), or all the things that happened seemed boring.

I really had to think about how I was going to approach this one.  And I think that I found my answer.

We'll get to that in a second.  In the meantime, I thought I'd go over some of the pop culture references that were big in May 2012 - the month I turned 31.

First, here's a snapshot of 31.  This was actually taken during one of the periods that wasn't boring.  A friend of mine named Sharyn came up to Canada to pay a visit and we did lots of fun things together including playing tourist in my hometown, going on a boat cruise, and visiting a couple of her friends in Upstate New York.  It would have made an interesting story to tell here...but I already told it three years ago.  If you like though, you can click HERE and read all about it!

#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/2012
"Somebody That I Used To Know" - GOTYE f. KIMBRA

Okay, I never knew who these people were before 2012.  I still have no idea who they are in 2015.  But this song?  It's quite nice.

"Marvel's The Avengers"

Not too surprised at this one.  The movie shattered box office records all over the world and was considered one of the best movies of 2012.  And, surprisingly enough, even though the movie came out three years ago, the 3D version on Blu-Ray still costs over sixty bucks! 

Well, at least it does at my store, anyway.


Well, all it took was a whopping ten years for the show to finally be the most watched show of the season, but NCIS did it with style proving that patience - and having to endure a near decade with American Idol at the top - paid off.  It's still going strong in 2015, having been renewed for at least one more year.

Okay, so my 31st year included a visit from an old friend, the passing of another good friend, and a whole lot of nothing in between.  And as 31 was about to fade into 32, one significant event happened that changed the course of my life forever.

Okay, that was an exaggeration.  But it did change the way that I looked at work again.

You see, 2012 was one of those years in which everything began to change at the workplace.  We got a new store manager that year that was determined to leave his fingerprint on the store - which he did by doing the do-si-do with several departments - shifting staff around from one area of the store to another, swapping department managers around, and all sorts of things like that.  It was quite a shock to get used to all of the changes because they kept happening one right after another.  But I completely tuned it all out because my thoughts were that I had been in the dairy/frozen area for seven years and there was no way that I would be moved. 

Well, apparently seven years in a department wasn't enough to spare me from being shifted to another area.

I was one of the last ones to be moved out of the area, and I only found out about it when the manager who was over the seasonal department called me into the office and remarked that I hadn't been getting enough sun.

That was code for - your time in dairy is done.  It's off to seasonal with you!

To be absolutely honest, those words scared the hell out of me.  I had been in the same area of the store for seven years.  I knew that area inside and out.  I knew how everything worked.  I did my job and did it well.  It seemed incomprehensible for them to take me out of my element in the air conditioned bliss of dairy and move me outside where the hot scorching sun would give me a sunburn faster than a convection oven can bake a toasted tomato sandwich.

I had no choice though.  The deed was done.  The store manager felt that the food side had too many people, so three of us were moved over to the garden centre area, as he felt that the attention was needed out there over the summer.  His theory made sense, and I understood why the decision was made.

But here's the thing.  When you spend seven years in the same department, you get so used to it.  By the end of it all, I could do the job blindfolded if I had to.  That's how confident I was in it.  The idea of leaving that comfort zone was frightening for me.  What if I didn't like the garden centre?  I wouldn't be able to go back to the old dairy department.  It would just be a mess.  What if I hated the people I worked with?  What if I passed out in the middle of the parking lot loading soil into people's cars and I got run over by a Betty Bread truck?

Like it or not though, a month before I turned 32 - April 22, 2013 - Earth Day - I began my three month stay in the garden centre.

And I freakin' loved it!

Okay, so maybe it took a week or two to get familiar with where everything was.  I spent most of my time in the soil compound loading bags of black earth, fertilizer, screening, and mulch in four different colours into people's vehicles for the first part of my time there.  From there, I graduated to price changes and watering duties (of which I was tempted to water myself instead of the plants as it was so hot that summer).  Eventually, I even learned how to run the cash register, which likely helped me earn a place in the electronics department that July. 

Oh, and as far as passing out?  Never happened.  We always had ice water on hand to keep us hydrated at all times.

But I think the best part about working in the garden centre area was the fact that we had such a fantastic team out there.  All of us pulled our weight and we had such a good time out there.  And one thing that I will say was that it was 92.5% stress free.

(There might have been the one time in which I had been out in the compound a little too long, and I got a little bit cranky over it.)

Seriously, I had absolutely nothing to worry about looking back on it.  I think our store manager at the time did me a huge favour looking back on it.  He took me out of a stagnant situation, and breathed new life into me.  And, may not be the most exciting thing that happened to me at 31...but it was what I needed.

And at 32, I discovered that charity sometimes begins at home.  That story will wait until tomorrow though.

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