“Yeah, but what’s your real job?” — this common question makes me cringe every time I hear it. Business men feeling the need to “give me advice” while I enjoy a day at work. They come from all over: different counties, cities, countries, and cultures, and actually, this is what I love about my job. But this cannot be my real job, can it?

I am a bartender. I get to spend my day — wait, strike that (I get to spend my day not setting an alarm, enjoying breakfast with my amazing girlfriend, practicing boxing or training for the triathlon I will complete next year, writing, designing, and much more) — I get to spend my nights talking to people, creating new drinks and recipes, and constantly moving in a fast-paced atmosphere that I find fun and enjoyable. Of course there are stressors in a bartender’s world. Every aspect of a person’s life comes with stressors. I’m not immune to these, nor do I necessarily want to be. However, I am immune from wearing a business suit (nothing inherently wrong with a suit, of course! Just not my preferred wardrobe) and looking down on the people I encounter at a restaurant or elsewhere.

You, sir, must be an intelligent person. You clean up well, you speak in complete sentences, you seem to be successful by your terms (money), and you even came in with friends or friendly co-workers. And yet I hear you say some of the more ridiculous things! Somehow you find it your “duty” to tell me that I am “too smart,” “too pretty,” or “too traveled” to be “stuck behind a bar all day.” Yes, you say, you’d “hate life if you worked here.” But I think that’s where you’re mistaken. Is it the chicken or the egg that came first? Am I too traveled to work at a bar, or do I have the chance to travel because I work at a bar? Your backhanded compliment of saying that I’m too smart (but then implying my idiocracy for my choice of work) baffles me, but you can’t even hear my scoff above the three different rings of your three different smart-devices anyway.

I travel. I am currently 11 states into my 50 State Race with my dad: a quest to run a half marathon in every one of the 50 states. Running together, spending a weekend somewhere we’ve never been, and trying out the food, the entertainment, the outdoors, the culture and the flavor of the cities we visit together are some of my favorite moments in this life I’ve created. I have the flexibility (and the income) to do so.

I love. I have the most incredible girlfriend I could ask for. I have the opportunity to craft my schedule around hers, so that we can actually enjoy a life together. Our home is full of love, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

I create. My soul years to create and learn. Whether it be oil painting (our home is covered in my paintings), photography (developing your own prints takes time, you know), crafts (we just built an ottoman!), learning a new language, designing websites and digital media campaigns (check out www.novelgardener.com) or gardening, I feel that the daylight helps build my creativity muscles.

I decided a long time ago that it isn’t about the JOB I have. It’s about the life I have. I will never say these businessmen hate their lives, or even their jobs. But the apparent need for them to dictate to me that my choices aren’t enough is astounding to me. I have enough. I am enough. My life is full, my heart is full, and my passport is going to be getting full before too much longer, too.