Reflecting Back On 2019 (12/31/19)

Wow I can’t believe 2019 is actually, finally over. Honestly looking back, I can’t tell if this year has felt like the longest, or shortest year of my life. Also, since I’m of course writing this at 4AM, happy new year everyone! I truly hope 2020 is the best year yet, and I plan on making that true for myself as we enter into the new decade. Now I’ll go over what actually happened on the last day of 2019 at the end, but frankly I just want to mostly spend this post going over everything that’s happened this year, because it has been one of the most rollercoaster years I’ve had in… a long time.

2019 started out with me being in one of the happiest places I’ve been in a good while. I was in a happy, seemingly healthy relationship, I was in a stable job, and I was working towards performing in a showcase to hopefully land an agent. I wasn’t really keeping up with my blogs at all, but I was so entranced by my relationship that I chose to focus on my every day moments, instead of writing down everything that was happening at the time. Fast forward to my first blog post of 2019, “It’s Been a While…”, while was posted on March 13th. By that point I had signed with BMG and officially had an agent, and I still was going strong with my girlfriend, but things were not in the best place when it came to my work situation. The manager at Emma’s Torch demoted me to server assistant for numerous reasons, and I had moved to working there part time, along with beginning a new job part time- DialogueDirect.

Those next 3 or 4 months were truly some of the worst months I’ve dealt with in an incredibly long time, and it was incredibly taxing on me mentally. After losing my girlfriend and having her break up with me, I began feeling the pressure of failure more and more, knowing that I was terrible at on the ground fundraising, but not being able to quit because I had no other options; I couldn’t turn back to Emma’s Torch because that would just be accepting a toxic environment with people who obviously didn’t want me working there anymore. Now I will say later on when I wrote that infamous letter to my ex, she took me describing those times as me blaming her; I know it looks like that, but I truly don’t want her to think that. Those times were hard, but it was more like the straw that broke the camel’s back. The longer I worked at Dialogue, the more desperate I was to find a new job, back in a restaurant. I watched week after week as money was just bled from my account, and I knew before too long I wouldn’t even be able to pay rent, and that would be that; my dream, all my hard-work… over.

Thankfully, just when I was most desperate, I found Eataly. I went in for an interview with Sergio, and got the email a good two days later, when I was working, offering me a position as a server at La Pizza La Pasta. I remember putting in my two weeks at DialogueDirect, only to come in for the first day, have the head of the office tell me I didn’t have to be here, staying the day, and then saying fuck it and quitting. What I will say is that Dialogue was truly hellish to work for, mostly because of how grueling the work was; standing outside for hours and hours, and getting rejected by anyone and everyone. Also having the threat of being fired just hanging over your head at all times, making you scared of not hitting the minimum was way too stressful for me. Maybe it wouldn’t have been if I was actually putting up good numbers, but frankly that never happened. My team definitely felt a bit like an oddball family though. I didn’t completely vibe with the team leader or site rep, mostly because our personalities were so incredibly different, but I did have fun with the team, and wished them all the best as I left.

Finally we’ve reached the final cycle of the year- beginning working at Eataly. I think the craziest bit is that I’ve actually been working there for 6.5 months now, and the time certainly has flown. I definitely was thrown directly into the flames when I began working there, and realized almost immediately just how busy this restaurant is. With my only serving experience being at Emma’s Torch, where the maximum number of people we could sit was under 30, moving to a restaurant where each section dealt with that almost that many people, sometimes more… was a bit overwhelming. All the same, I was so excited to be back serving, and despite mistakes here and there, I’ve gotten incredibly good at my job. I still make mistakes of course, but my speed and efficiency is leagues better than when I began. Beyond just that, I am truly grateful for how kind everyone is that I work with. I mean sure people get stressed, it’s a busy restaurant, but it truly feels like a team effort; like a family.

Now despite the happiness and fulfillment I’ve gained from Eataly, October I got a birthday gift that I frankly did not want- I got kicked out of my apartment. Well, when I say kicked out, I should say that it was more the lease was ending and management of the apartment was not going to renew our lease. But the weeks building up to that were just so damn messy- from police knocking on my bedroom door and asking questions, to coming back a week later with like, a fire martial or something, to telling us that we were in an illegal setup because the person who signed the lease didn’t live in the apartment anymore… it was a crazy realization to be sure. Despite it putting some pressure for me to find a new place to live, that did give me the opportunity to finally make the move and look for a place not by myself, but with a friend from college- Andrew. He was leaving his apartment December 1st and was planning on finding a new place with our friend Julian, and with me adding into the mix we began looking around trying to find a place to live.

I am so grateful that I ended up finding our apartment in Brooklyn, and with us actually managing to snag 4B, it truly felt like the stars were aligning. The three of us all signing the lease was such a crazy surreal experience for me; it felt like an exciting new chapter in the story of my life, and I couldn’t wait to get it started. I officially moved out of 12 Pinehurst Ave #BSMT 1 November 13th, and before I knew it I was all settled into my new place. Sure my bedroom was a bit smaller, but it actually felt like a home. In my last apartment my room of course felt like home, but stepping out into the halls to use the bathroom or go into the kitchen to cook, it felt like I was in a stranger’s place staying there temporarily. In my new place, it truly does feel like home.

At last we’ve reached the end of the year, December 31st, 2019; the end of a decade. This year was truly full of some really low lows, but also some amazing high highs. I’ve grown so much as a person, and am stronger thanks to the difficult times I was forced to face. This past month has flown by, from Mags and Devon, and then dad and Susan visiting New York and me taking them to see shows as their Christmas presents, to buckling down and working through the busiest time of the year at Eataly, finally being rewarded with a couple of much needed days off, getting to spend the final days of 2019 with my family. Today I slept in til 12:30, being woken up by Mags because our friend Anna has stopped by. I got dressed and headed down, and we all ended up chatting and just having a wonderful time for a couple hours. As Anna left, we all made our way out as well, going bowling and all doing just horribly. I did win though! Best of the worst as they say. After the game ended, we went to Mexico, where we had a dinner as one large group before heading home to end the night. Jake, Mags, Devon, Dad and I played the card game “Red Flags” for a bit, before we all sat down to watch “Little Miss Sunshine”. As the credits rolled we switched over to watch the ball drop, and as the ball dropped and we all screamed “Happy New Year!”, it meant that 2019 had officially ended and I had survived to not only another year, but another decade. We headed outside to celebrate in true Saunders fashion as us and our next door neighbors set up fireworks, truly starting 2020 with a bang.

Now I truly have zero idea what 2020 is going to bring for me. I’m starting the year single for the first time in four years, and have no idea when I’ll find that special person; it sure doesn’t feel like I’m any closer to finding her; But honestly, that’s okay. I have my family and I have my friends, and for now that’s enough. I’m so grateful for all the growing that I’ve done, and I can’t wait for whatever this new year has in store for me. For now, it’s 4:49 and I am desperate for sleep. Happy New Year everyone~

Best,

-Michael

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