Leap of Faith (Sort of)

Hi. I’m still here.

At the end of September, I started a leave of absence from my day job. With the support of a fabulous doctor (rare, I know) and a great therapist, I’m managing depression. Truth be told, I think a tendency toward sadness has always been my inclination. I’m more optimistic than some assume, but I also see the world as it is, and for any sane person, it must evoke some sadness.

I had been struggling with an extremely toxic work environment. I reported my boss to my company’s HR department for bullying, sharing my personal information with others, and rampant gossip about other people. I’m sure it will come as a surprise to no one that they were less than helpful.

I even started interviewing with another company. I had two interviews before they told me things had changed within the team.

I felt stuck in a cycle of constant burnout and exhaustion, and I became angry that Harrison and I made this jump and we can’t focus all of our time and energy on it to stay afloat financially.

While it might seem like cheating, this gives me time to focus on the bar and try to find a path to leave my full-time job. I just need to cobble together a livable income. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to do that just yet. I’m looking at everything from part-time work to freelance writing jobs to selling pictures of my feet (only half kidding).

Since I’ve been on leave, I’ve grown to love the bar even more. Maybe it’s the anti-depressants talking, but I’m not exhausted or frustrated at my lack of free time. I simply enjoy the time I’m there and the community that has formed. Sure, I get physically tired from being on my feet for hours at a time, and as an introvert, I get burnt out on the constant human interaction. But over the last year, I’ve built relationships with great people and I’ve watched incredible friendships form.

I have five more weeks to hatch a plan. I either find a new path, or I go back to my job. Let’s hope for the former.

Time

Do you remember the height of the pandemic when all we had was time? Sure, those of us who were working – remote or otherwise, have kids, or other responsibilities, still had things to do every day. But then when we were finished with our responsibilities, there was nowhere to go and no one to see. As bleak as that time may have been, I have to admit that I kind of miss it. I spent my evenings revisiting movies I used to love and weekends going for walks, reading a book, or going for a drive to a different part of town just to enjoy a change of scenery.

Like so many people during the pandemic, Harrison and I thought a lot about how we were spending our time, our work, our screen time. It was probably the most intentional we had ever been about our time, and the most thought we had ever given to our day-to-day life and activities. We realized how dissatisfied we had become with how we spent 40 hours a week, or often much more than that due to the merging of home life and work life.

We would consider things we could do to spend our time on things that are more fulfilling or enjoyable.

Then, we had an opportunity come our way last year. A bar where Harrison had been producing comedy shows was for sale and had recently closed. The owners had received a few offers they didn’t feel right about, and then they called Harrison.

They offered to sell him the bar for an insanely low price. And by “him,” I mean “us” because especially having been doing this for a few months now, there is no scenario in which he could have done this without my involvement.

We had to move fast. After a whirlwind month of rebranding, hiring a manager, and addressing necessary repairs, we opened a reborn neighborhood bar in November 2021.

It happened so fast that neither of us felt comfortable leaving our day jobs. Though, in hindsight, we may have chosen differently.

In the last two years, we’ve gone from more time than we knew what to do with, to a bit less but still ample amount of time, to not even enough time to grocery shop or take care of personal needs.

We gambled on ourselves and this bar with big dreams that it will someday lead to not only spending our obligatory time on something more meaningful, but that we can help it grow and then let it go and trust that it will sustain us.

We are just at the beginning of seeing this endeavor pay off. We don’t know how long this will take or how much time we’ll have, well, no time.

There are moments when the weight of all of this feels heavier, like when we have to ensure that we make time to care for our aging and chronically ill pets or even considering whether we’ll have time to grieve when they pass. What if we’re sick or we have an emergency? We’re about to have a niece or nephew. Will we have the chance to watch them grow?

When will we be able to take vacations again? When/if our business is making enough money to sustain us, how will we spend our time then? What will be our next move if we are successful, and how much time will that take?

Sometimes, it feels like we’re on borrowed time and everything could come crashing down any second. I continue to wonder how much longer people will confuse us for the previous bar or how much more time we’ll have to spend on unsolicited advice and feedback.

Am I in a rush to see this really take off? Yes. Am I also trying to spend just a second every now and then to take it in when the work pays off? Absolutely.

Time is a weird thing. It’s all taking too long and happening too fast all at once.