One of These Things is Just Like the Other

My husband and I have our own business.  It’s terrifying, exhilarating and a lot of work.  At the end of a long day’s work our feet hurt, our backs ache and we just want to collapse in bed.  Since we are the boss, we are in charge of making sure everyone is happy, satisfied and well fed.  We make mistakes, we stumble, but we learn from them and move one.  Being an entrepreneur is an organic process, full of discovery about one other and the world around us.  New tax forms to fill out, licenses to buy, social media plugs, inventory, notebooks organized by color and form.  Simply put, there is always much to do.

Owning your own business is very similar to parenting.  It is terrifying, exhilarating and a lot of work.  At the end of a long day’s work my feet hurt, my back aches and I just want to collapse in bed.  Since I am the boss, I am in charge of making sure everyone is happy, satisfied and well fed.  I make mistakes, I stumble, but I learn from them and move one.  Being a parent is an organic process, full of discovery about one other and the world around us.  School forms to fill out, soccer uniforms to buy, pack lunch, plan the day, scraped knees, laundry, dishes, playdates, homework.  Simply put, there is always much to do.

But we wouldn’t have it any other way would we?  It’s tough to run a business.  If it fails, the defeat falls in your lap.  Parenting is tough too.  If we fail, our children suffer the consequences.  But we don’t give up just because things get rough.  We are in this for the long haul.  A client skips out on their bill, the soufflé falls, the children argue, someone gets hit in the eye with a stick.  At the end of these days we are beat down, bloodied to a pulp by responsibilities and obligations, defeats and missteps.  But there is beauty in the hardship.  We get up to begin again, remembering the bright spots, the little victories, an unexpected check in the mail, the toddler running towards your legs with the biggest hug in the world, an I love you so, so much whispered in the dark, the sounds of laughter singing in the windows from the backyard.

We are blessed, flying high, tired but gratified, yet always wondering if we are up to task.  Can we really do this one hard thing?  What if we fail, make a fool of ourselves, do something unique and original despite all the naysayers?  Trust your authentic self.  In the end, even if you fail, you’ve succeeded just by persevering.

Here is a fantastic quote from Jenny Offill’s book Dept. of Speculation (which is fantastic, by the way) to sum up my reasoning for remaining steadfast in my calling.

A thought experiment courtesy of the Stoics.  If you are tired of everything you possess, imagine that you have lost all these things.

If it was all gone tomorrow, I’d never be the same again.  So I say a prayer of thanks for my many gifts and I keep on keeping on.  Tomorrow is a bright new day full of possibilities and those sweet moments of grace that make it all worth living.  Look closely and you’ll see them too.

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