Trash and Treasure

Sammul’s Log: Aug 4th, 2018

“One man’s trash, another man’s treasure.”

Often we think of this phrase as a negative. Picturing someone wading through a dumpster or picking up a broken chair from someone else’s trash pile. I’ve seen these sort of things myself.
As a kid, I saw it from the back seat of the very car that stopped for the trash.

I’ve been there and I’ve seen the ugly side of the trash pile, but I’d like to apply the illustration in a little bit of a different way.

I came into work today on my day off. (Being a baker means I cater to the dough’s timeframe, not the other way around.) While I’m rolling out the dough, the baristas working start talking about my baking. They say that the pastries are looking great, and we are selling lots of them. We crack a few jokes back and forth, and everyone is having a great time working.

One of the baristas makes a comment to me regarding the time that I’ve put in recently toward the baking.


“You must really hate your job,” she says sarcastically, “To come in here all the time.”

I begin to banter back a bit, but realize that she’s right. I do love my job right now. This place is working out perfectly for me.

Finally, I finish up with the dough, and I find a place to sit in the cafe to get some work done.

There’s a long line to the front counter, and it’s one of those Saturday mornings where there’s this electricity in the air. Everyone is jamming away, and it’s a good day.

The sun is shining, the clouds are moving along the sky.

I have my computer and a La Croix seltzer as I watch the Saturday morning rush keep on going.

This was my view out the window that day 

Sooner or later someone walks in the door. A barista who just recently quit working here to pursue a career as a traveling artist. She does henna tattoos at art shows and whatnot. Anyway, nobody has seen her in a couple of weeks, and here she is again.

She starts chatting with the barista working, and they catch up a little bit. I can’t hear what they are saying, but I can gather that she doesn’t regret leaving for her art one bit. She is happy to be rid of this place.

Not in a bad way, of course, it’s not a bad place to work, it’s actually a great work environment. The thing about it for her was that in the situation she found herself in, it was a hindrance to the goal she wanted to pursue more than a barista job.

I think it’s an interesting concept to acknowledge, that one person can thrive [myself at the moment] where another person [traveling artist barista] is held back.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

The life you live isn’t the same as the life your neighbor lives. Everyone is trying to make it in their respective lives, and we easily forget that others don’t see the world the way we do.

They say that life isn’t about the destination but rather the journey. Well, everyone is on a different journey. Even siblings who grew up together under the same roof act differently and have to take different paths to pursue their dreams. Don’t hold others back, and realize that once it’s time to move, then it’s time to move. Even if you are comfortable. Especially if you’re comfortable. That’s when it’s most important to keep yourself from falling into mediocrity. Because you appreciate the good times by experiencing the bad, and you learn to respect the peaceful times when you allow for some chaos to shake things up.

The life you live isn’t the same as the life your neighbor lives.

I’ve tried people watching before. I will look around a room full of people, and try to imagine what it is that they do every day. How do they live? How can I imagine their lives being different from mine?

I find this exercise is most effective if this person isn’t like me. (People of different religious beliefs, political standings, opinions, etc. People who see the world differently than I do.)

 You don’t have to enjoy their company, and you don’t have to conform to their lifestyle, but it is healthy to stop and put yourself in their shoes for a moment to better understand where they’re coming from.

This is important because sometimes what you or another person might see as useless or defective, might be just what someone else needs as their vehicle to success.

Don’t underestimate someone else’s leftovers, but have the self-respect to know when it really is garbage.



Another thought I had is that sometimes you find yourself going through spells where a situation that was once helpful for you is now toxic. That is to say that sometimes you experience both the “trash” and the “treasure” involved.

Maybe you got a job that really taught you a lot and helped you to grow your skills to an impressive degree. But eventually, the atmosphere at that place becomes stagnant and you find yourself being held back by the very things that once taught you valuable skills.

black and white man young lonelyMaybe there was a time where you were dealing with some really heavy stuff, and you turned to some substance for support. That very substance can have the potential to become an addiction which never lets you move beyond that one stage of your life.

Maybe you know someone who helped you when you needed it most. But when you became healthier, you found that they were abusive, or toxic, or a lier. Maybe they were a boyfriend, a girlfriend, an ex, a relative, a mentor, or anyone else you meet in your life. It can apply to your circumstances, your relationships, your professional life, and so much more.
It can make change really difficult. To move on beyond something or someone that was once so dear. To say to it “You aren’t what I am anymore, so I’m leaving” is a difficult conversation to have.


But I’m telling you, it’s necessary for change.

Don’t compromise for trash when you have the option for treasure. Even if, at one point, that trash was a treasure.


  1. “Don’t compromise for trash when you have the option for treasure. Even if, at one point, that trash was a treasure.”

    I thought this writing was an interesting take on changes and just living our own stories out. I love that analogy I quoted from your ending above as well and how you expanded on it’s meaning from your viewpoint. The log was neat and grew into a more complex explanation from something simple. A great and positive read, Sam, and I just thought I should let you know. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s