“There’s no time! There’s never any time!”
That line may sound vaguely familiar to any of you who grew up watching Saved By the Bell. It was from that episode where Jessie, Lisa and Kelly decide to break into the music biz, and Jessie is having a hard time balancing all her responsibilities. She becomes addicted to caffeine pills, realizes she may never get into Stanford and freaks out on Zack in a major way. It was easily one of the best episodes ever.
I joke about Jessie’s temporary bout of insanity, but I will admit I have encountered similar moments over the course of the last year. As you may know, I am an owner of rBar. I quit my full-time desk job a little over a year ago to pursue the roller coaster-esque life of an entrepreneur. In the volatile hospitality/entertainment industry, nonetheless.
Before taking the plunge into the unknown, I remember having a conversation with my mother. I looked at her over dinner one night and said “I am bored.” She immediately launched into a list of things that we could do…grab a drink, catch a movie, etc. I said “No, I mean I am just plain bored…with my life. I need something more, this just isn’t cutting it.”
My life was very routine…get up, go to work, sit at a desk for eight hours, work out, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed. REPEAT EVERY MONDAY – FRIDAY. I was living for my weekends, which meant that I was hoping to skip through a huge portion of my life.
Fast forward a year, and the word boredom is not in my vocab. Around 30-35 hours of my week is allotted to physically being present at the bar, and that doesn’t even begin to account for the work I do outside the building. Not to mention attempting to stay on top of all the events happening around this city and trying to look presentable at each and every one. You never know when one of those media photogs is going to pop up and snap an incriminating photo.
There was a point last week when I thought I might have Jessie Spano moment…a full-fledged screaming, crying freak-out. I had something going on every single night for over two weeks, and I hadn’t gotten more than three hours sleep in as long as I could remember. It was the hottest day of the summer thus far, and I was attending a friends event at the Ford building. Even as I was standing on the roof with the wind blowing, I overlooked the entire city of St. Louis and I just felt claustrophobic. I felt like I was being pulled in a thousand different directions, and all I really wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep.
People often ask me what it is really like to own a bar. To no longer have to report to an office every day at 8am sharp. To work when I want and how I want. To stay up late everynight and sleep in everyday. To consider entertaining friends and attending ‘social events’ as my job. Well, when it’s put like that, it certainly sounds like the perfect job. Which probably begs the question: “Why the potential Jessie Spano moment”?
I will be the first to say that I love my new profession and the direction that my life is headed. However, along with being your own boss comes the responsibility of ‘being your own boss’. I have realized that there is never going to be a time when I feel my work is done. I will forever recognize that small pang of guilt in the back of my mind…reminding me there is constantly something to be done. I know there are going to be days when I put in twenty hours and hardly even get five minutes to myself. I accept the fact that I may only get one evening (if that) at home to actually use my kitchen, hang out with my dog and just relax. I understand that I may never average more than four hours of sleep again.
But those are all just minor sacrifices for what I’ve gained over this last year. Friendship, experiences, opportunity. A chance to give back to a community that has been nothing but supportive to me and my business partners. Creative freedom and the ability to control my future. Putting in the time and actually seeing hard work rewarded. Watching our efforts at rBar enable others to take risks and follow their dreams. That is what it means to be an entrepreneur. That is what makes it worth every second.
It’s possible that time is something I will never again have in abundance. Seems like such a small price to pay when you are having the time of your life.