I love Thai food. Like I’m kinda totally obsessed with it. Growing up in a Haitian household, I had never even heard of Thai food, let alone eaten it. It wasn’t until I moved to NYC and had a friend that introduced me to it, that I had pad thai for the first time. Once I ate it, I was hooked. At one point, I was on a personal mission to find the best pad thai in the city. I ate pad thai at least once a week. I was doing research, so I had to. My friends knew exactly what my answer would be if they asked me what I wanted to eat, most days.
When I was a teacher, my coworkers and I discovered a restaurant in Clinton Hill named Thai 101. It was a small place, but the flavor of the food and the great customer service were immeasurable. I loved it. I ate there every week, sometimes more than once a week. OK, it got to almost everyday. It was my go-to restaurant. I told everyone I knew about it and encouraged them to try it. That gave me an excuse to keep going back with them. When I realized it was a couple of blocks away from my estranged brother’s apartment, I actually started visiting him more. As our relationship grew, that gave me yet another excuse to keep frequenting the restaurant. Don’t judge me.
But then things changed. The staff changed a few times and the amazing customer service from the old manager was gone (we had been on a first name basis). They closed their original location and opened a new, bigger restaurant across the street. This new location served alcohol too. So that should’ve made things even better. Key word, should’ve.
I babysat for my brother and his wife recently. Since they “pay” me in the best currency possible, food, I decided to try my old favorite. It had been awhile, but I was excited and confident that it would be good. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. My pad thai was basically inedible. It smelled funny & tasted bad. I was so disappointed. I had to call the restaurant back and exchange my order for a rama (peanut) dish instead. I was so hangry. It was better, but still not amazing.
I told my sister-n-law about the bad pad thai and she said that the food there had been hit or miss lately. It looks like they focused too much on growing the business, but compromised the quality of the food. I am sad to say that I won’t be ordering food from there ever again. It’s the end of an era. Besides, I have been eating at another restaurant where the pad thai has been consistently amazing, for the past year. Yes, I have a new Thai BAE.
It was the simplest experience, but it made me think about how often that happens in life. Sometimes the things that we depend on for so long, suddenly become unreliable. We tend to outgrow certain things, places and unfortunately, people. They no longer serve the purpose they once did. They no longer make us happy. They don’t even look or feel the same to us. They’ve lost their appeal.
Many of us make the mistake of holding on to things for far too long. We stay in dead-end jobs, unfulfilling friendships, toxic relationships, etc. All in the name of comfort and familiarity. Change can be scary. So it’s much easier to keep doing what (& who) you already know.
Yet, we can miss out on something better by being stagnant. Fear stunts our growth and makes us settle for less. I’ve started to take note of when I’ve accepted something mediocre in my life. I am working on forgiving myself for all of the mistakes I’ve clung to, for fear of my time being wasted. I didn’t want to have to start all over again. But, as a wise friend pointed out, clinging to something that hurts you, only wastes more time.
I wouldn’t continue to pay for unsatisfactory, or even harmful, food. So I definitely shouldn’t continue to invest time (or energy) in other things that are not good for me. No thanks, I’m tapping out. I’m letting go. You should too.