"A strange thing happens to New York bartenders when they hit the age of thirty: They suddenly realize they're never going to be famous.
Right up to the point where they were 29 years, 364 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds old they are all absolutely, positively certain that their screenplay will be sold, their face will be discovered by a big stage producer, their paintings will be hanging at The MoMA, their photographs will be gracing the pages of Vogue etc. etc." - Hugh MacLeod "Gaping Void".
I know a bartender here in Richmond who is 2 years older than me. Like me, he has a college degree and like me, he loves to bartend. Unlike me, this bartender has ideas and plans and schemes and is starting some sort of new business every other day (with varying degrees of success). I remember him telling me about a modeling and promotions company he was starting a few years ago (which is still in existence and seems to be flourishing), he talks about a bartender reality TV show he's trying to spearhead, he plans events, he networks constantly and in a word... he hustles.
Unlike most* of the other bartenders I know, he has no plan on getting a great job in sales or landing a corner office. He pays the bills by slinging drinks and in his free time he works to accomplish something different with his life. I haven't spoken to him specifically about this, but I'm willing to bet that you will never find him in a cubicle, ever.
I think for the most part that everyone who knows this guy, likes him. He's personable and intelligent. I also think and have heard that a lot of people think he's crazy and they tend to scoff at his outlandish ideas. I know I sort of used to snicker when he would tell me about these events and these promotions that he was planning. It was something different (especially in this backwards city) and "different" will always meet resistance.
Well, I'm an idiot. I should have been spending my time thus far working on something bigger and better, while still being able to pay my bills without having a 9 to 5. Instead I've only been dreaming and waiting. The one thing that my bartending friend has been able to do, that I so desperately am trying to do, is ignore everybody. I haven't asked him about this either, but I can say without a doubt that he doesn't give a fuck about the naysayers.
The ones that people think are "crazy" are inevitably the ones who succeed on the grandest scale, or they burn up in a spectacular fashion. Either way, the effort and the journey is what makes their life special.
Right now I'm wasting my time and my youth. A future that's behind a desk and a future spent doing the things I never said I would do gets slightly closer everyday. I've got to get moving on something... It's just a matter of what exactly that is.
*Ed. Note: Since posting this I've rememered a few other bartenders who are working on awesome side gigs too.