A bartender always greets you with a smile. He remembers your name, remembers your order, and what you like to drink. He keeps track of how many beers he’s poured. Then he pays the cook and a helper, from the slim picking in his cash register, but still maintains a smile. He is a revolutionary. He is doing what most people dream about.

Revolution. Independence. Freedom. For some, it will never die; it is the wind in their sails. You have to know what it smells like if you want to recognize it.

For most, the burden of maintaining freedom and independence is too heavy. So many just take a sip, but it doesn’t taste right. Too much work. Too many hours. Not enough security. It’s an acquired taste. It takes a certain kind of person to run their own course — it takes foolishness — courage — recklessness and the ability to tolerate people laughing, snickering and sneering at their chosen path.

Whether it’s a bar, a network marketing business, a blog or a high-tech fiber-optics company, knowing you are in control is the magic. You don’t have to own the place, you don’t have to be the boss, you only know that you are your own person; calling your own shots. And just like the bartender who has a responsibility to his patrons, independence and freedom calls for integrity, honesty and courage at the right time. Without those attributes, someone else is pulling your strings.

So, when the bar empties and the night is done, reality comes knocking with overdue bills, overdue dreams, and a drunk at the end of the bar. But you do it anyway. You persevere. Because you have tasted the alternative, and it taste like crap.

The drunk leaves and the night is done. The jukebox stops playing, you count the take for the night, and start cleaning and mopping and preparing for tomorrow. You know if you don’t do this, no one will. It’s a lonely event, cleaning a bar. It’s empty and quiet but a good time to think. Your pants are wet, your shirt is filthy and you’re tired. You think about tomorrow. That vast canvas where you will, once again, paint the path you decide to take. It’s three in the morning and in spite of it all, you thank your god for the chance to be in this position. And you can’t wait until tomorrow, when the place gets messed up again, because doing the right things when no one is watching is what makes it look so easy. It is what you live for. It is a line item on the freedom invoice you pay every day.

There may come a time, however, when you hang the closed sign in the window one last time. And before you walk away forever, you’ll take one more look around, and wave goodbye. To your friends, your drunks, your customers. Your dream. The bar stays ever clean; in your mind’s eye, it will stay that way forever.

For sometimes revolution and freedom means failing; sometimes it means loneliness — so alone that no one else is calling — no one cares. So alone that once the doors close, no one but you may notice. But, you know… you just know… that another door will open. And it’s a bigger door. With a fancier lock. That’s how a revolutionary thinks. They never let go of the levers of their lives. If you can fail, stumble, bleed and get up again, you are a revolutionary.

And although your peers may drive fancy cars and live in nice homes; even though their 401ks are bursting with financial advisers knocking on their doors, they envy the revolutionary. They envy you. They want what you have. To sail their own ship, to be able to unfurl their sails like you do, to feel the wind whip through their hair. They want to call their own shots, like you do. They want to be a revolutionary, too.

Until they watch you sweep the floors, clean the toilets, wipe the counters, and tell a drunk to go home. They don’t want to pay the price that freedom, independence and revolution demands. So, they turn away and wonder when their turn will come, not realizing it is there for the taking. A revolutionary may fall and stumble, and their ship may be small, but they never, ever, stop dreaming. They will never let it go. And their hands will always be dirty.

To all those yearning to live their lives the way they want to and are awaiting that ship of freedom, realize this: freedom is never given, but always taken. Always. Life is short. Go grab it now.

My philosophy: Life is an amusement park, so go on all the rides! I’m a dad, animal lover, caregiver, science guy & highly inquisitive person. And I like wine.