Tired. Tired is what we have been for the last 20 months.
I’m not complaining. I’m really not. And next week we move on to some of the bright and positive things that the Monk represents. And truthfully, we are so grateful, happy and blessed. The Café is successful and has exceeded our expectations across the board. But dayum people. We spend most of our time just trying to put another foot in front of the other. Between all the planning, driving, creating, cleaning, baking, shopping, emailing, ordering, pay rolling, operating, it can be difficult to find living, relaxing, enjoying, breathing, sleeping, eating, resting, gaming, friending.
Gene and I once sat down to discuss the year that had passed by, our first year being self-employed. We both agreed without much hesitation that it was the hardest year of our lives. And remember, three kids. And we’re in our thirties. We’ve been through challenges, we’ve been through hardships, none of us avoid those and they are real. But we agreed that 2015-2016 was the hardest year of our lives.
My small business mentor used to love to observe that: “Most people think that self-employment will be so great because you will get to set your own hours. Okay. Which 80 hours a week would you like to work?”
For the first year-and-a-half I worked 80 hours a week, six days a week, with a one-day weekend that easily turned into more work if I wasn’t very careful. One day of rest in a 7-day week feels like coming up for a breath of air once every 70 seconds. It gets harder each time simply because you’re not getting enough air to breathe. It’s not sustainable. Now I work a 5-day week but it’s still 60ish hours. When you get home from that 60-hour week you come home to three young budding, growing, changing, transforming children who need you around and emotionally available. Or you’re a bad father. Way to go Dad. Gene is in the exact same boat and I honestly don’t know how she manages under the weight of her responsibilities sometimes.
But you know what helps when you’re Tired? Knowing that you are not alone. Because we’re all tired. Everyone is working hard. And we’re all in it together. Last week I briefly compared owning a small business to having a small child, and, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child. We are tremendously helped by being a part of the villages. The village of small business owners in Hamilton, the village we have created within the Monk (Steven, William, Cat and now Charlotte – we have an amazing team guys, thank you so much!) and the Monk Village, the village of enthusiastic gamers who like, follow, share and support the things that happen here. The Monk doesn’t exist and couldn’t thrive without all these villages raising her up. We thank YOU, readers of blogs, drinkers of Lattes, rollers of dice, and everyone who supports this community. Sincerely and with felt emotion. You have no idea how good it is to see a smiling and supportive face in the store during a week when you secretly feel exhausted and terrified of the future. We have AMAZING customers whom we truly love and adore.
And at the end of all of that, the last thing that keeps us going through it all. We serve Coffee and Beer.