On Friday I performed at The Dramatists Guild of America in NYC, and it went well. The  Guild is at 1501 Broadway, which happens to be in the same building where my first NYC job was.

As I left the building, I hung a left and walked past the restaurant I used to wait tables at.  I looked in and was shocked to see that the place hasn’t changed much in 12 years since I worked there. It was filled with the usual Friday night tourist crowd, waiting to be seated, as eager staff members milled around the gift shop helping customers pick out souvenirs.

With one glace, I was quickly transported back to my days as a 25-year-old actor, filled with hope for an amazing future. The sounds and the smells were exactly the same and I saw myself walking in and begrudgingly climbing the stairs to my shift, hoping to make at least $100 in cash.

But as this part-PART-time actor snapped back to reality, I wasn’t filled with melancholy. A bit of pride filled my heart as I was reminded how far my life has come since the days since I put my notice in at Bubba Gump’s.

I watched the young employee working the front door for a minute, while I waited for the light at the crosswalk. I could tell he was an actor transplant from somewhere else in America, just like me. Clear-eyed and excited about his future. Living in NYC and crushing it.

I wondered what his life would look like in 12 years if he happened to walk by Bubba’s just as I did.

Would he have the same feelings of pride and accomplishment?

Hopefully, he does.