I’ve done a million things for money in my short time on this planet. In chronological order I have worked as; a baby sitter, a pet/house sitter, a hostess, an art salesperson, a barista, a retail clerk, an interior designer, a waitress and a bartender (my present employment). I’ve made money buying clothes from second-hand shops and re-selling them to places like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange. I’ve participated in focus groups and once got paid to appear in a Dove commercial. One of my first jobs was as a roadie for a harpist. You read that right. That is the least cool music gig on the planet, but it payed $15 an hour and I only had to do, like, 20 minutes of real work at the beginning and end of every gig. While I was living in Southern California I worked as a freelance designer and as a cleaning lady at an Air B’n’B property. I’m presently employed as a bartender again, and while the money is great and the hours flexible, I find myself restless.
I recently stumbled across this article on Quartz about Millenial’s Obsession with the “side hustle.” These strange side-gigs everyone my age seems to be running while simultaneously working at a 9-5 or busting our ass at a service job. Most of the people I know are spinning a couple of plates at any given moment. A dude I grew up with whose perfecting his photo-game when he’s not helping his dad run his auto shop. Another whose grinding hard to make his music, his passion, his primary hustle. An artist who spends her days and evenings clearing other people’s food and taking orders, but stays up all night creating art that she sells on Etsy. My homegirl whose spending 50+ hours a week running a kitchen in somebody else’s restaurant and trying to get her own food truck off the ground in her off hours.
I think a big part of this phenomenon is the fact that most of us need to make more money than our day jobs allow, in order to pay our bills, our exorbitant rent and our interest-gaining student loans. Sure, desperate times call for desperate measures, but I think a majority of the reason so many of us have something else on the stove is that we’re hungry for something more than our day job’s provide. For a lot of us, our side hustle is usually what we wish we were doing when we’re at your job. Your side hustle, from my limited perspective, seems to be how you figure out the true answer to that question we’ve been asked since we were old enough to talk; “what do you want to do with your life?” A lot of us picked our answers right out of the gate. Doctor. Lawyer. Fireman. Others hm’d and haw’d over it for weeks, months, years. Some of us are still trying to work that answer out.
I’ve wanted to be a million things since I first heard that question and I’ve tried my hand at a fair number of the options on my list, but I realized a while ago that the thing I’ve wanted the longest and the most consistently was to write. I still haven’t quite decided what I’m writing about, but I suppose the best way is to just begin. To write as much and as frequently as possible, to hear feedback, to not be afraid of expressing my thoughts.
I stepped away from this blog for a long time, almost a year to the day, actually. There were a lot of reasons for this, and many of them remain unresolved, but I have decided that this is what I want to do. That writing and communicating through this medium has always felt like It…that thing that I’m supposed to be doing. Maybe I’ll never earn a dime for it, maybe it will always be a side hustle that never evolves much beyond a personal art project of sorts. So be it. Making art isn’t about making money. Sometimes, you get lucky and you make money from your art. Most of the time, you just make art. Because it’s beautiful, because it’s what you feel compelled to do. Sometimes you do something, not because it’s going to make you rich or famous, but because the act of doing it brings you joy, because it quells some desperate need in you to make something of your own, whether it’s an album or an image or a taco truck or a fucking blog. Chase your dream, even if it’s only on the side.