50 to 60 hour weeks for 6 months straight and I am wiped out. That doesn't include all of the hours I've put into thinking, dreaming, and sweating with anxiety about the business. And I OWNED it. I've owned every inch of this business even though I had no technical knowledge of the field to begin with.
The good news is that six months of setting up an office infrastructure, networking our butts off, creating a business and marketing plan and studying for licensing exams has paid off...For one of us, at least. With work continuing to trickle in, Josh can continue to "pull his own weight," so to speak. I however, cannot. It just doesn't look like the market is going to support the both of us right now.
It's frustrating, heartbreaking, and a huge blow to my often-fragile self-esteem. I know what I (and we) have accomplished, but I am so angry that I have to leave this now. I have to switch gears completely and go back to being away from my daughter, my husband, and my household. It hurts.
We did this business thing because not only did Josh seriously need help to carry the load, but because it would give us the chance to be together and to hopefully balance work and family. It has been great in that sense. Working two separate jobs, full-time for the past three years of Harper's life has been unfulfilling, to say the least. Throw in the nearly year and half that Josh was struggling to find work and it was downright excruciating. The last six months seemed to be our silver lining.
I think that we knew we were being a little unrealistic with our goals. But as long as there was a chance we could pull it off--why not take it? I'm very proud that the business is running fairly smoothly enough now that Josh is able to work and bring in a salary. Our hard work has paid off to that extent. But now what do I do?
I've found myself getting a little ugly lately. Seriously envying people who have no financial concerns. Friends who can stay home with their children, or choose to work or not to work, or who have businesses that are thriving, or who can just afford to take a little vacation now and then. Sometimes I feel like the only person going through this, and then of course I remember all the families who have been hit even harder in this economy.
Right now I just feel like a belligerent child, stomping around yelling about things not being fair. Every night I try to go through the list of things I'm grateful for and then I pray for a little miracle to keep me on board with the business and with our dream. And that's really the point to me anyways. The passion isn't necessarily what we're doing day-to-day. I don't really have a big interest in architecture or design. The dream for me is about doing something bigger, better, more life changing, more beneficial to the community, and something we can do together as a family.
I know we'll get there at some point. Things never quite happen like I plan them, but as Josh says, we always land on our feet (no doubt thanks to some great support from our family and friends). I'm really impatient and really exhausted though. I'm really frustrated, sad, and angry.
I was at a conference this past week where the keynote speaker was the author of "Creating Your Best Life." She said something like, people who have achieved great happiness and success have suffered an average of 3-4 major setbacks in their life (this is a really butchered summary of her actual words). I'm sure this is because setbacks build character, make you reevaluate your life, change course, blah, blah, blah. Well my little foot stomping, inner child is yelling: "I'm tired of the setbacks! I've worked too hard and gone through too much heartache! It's my turn to be happy!"
Just so I don't get anymore melodramatic I'll add this last bit...I will get over this. I'll move on and hopefully with all of the "character" I've built, I'll be able to put something new and interesting together. Hopefully it will pay the bills and get us back on our feet. Hopefully it won't take me away from my daughter or my husband for too many hours. Hopefully when the economy improves I'll be able to get back on board with the business or at least some venture that better benefits my family. I'll still be praying for that little miracle, but then I'll get realistic, lighten up, and put together a solid plan. Rebounding has definitely become one of my new and treasured character traits!
Now, since it's late...my late-night, grateful, good things list: thank you mom and dad, thank you my beautiful daughter, thank you my supportive husband, thank you Netflix for the distraction, thank you Alexandria for the sparkly manicure, thank you McDonald's strawberry/banana smoothies, thank you Nebraska Furniture Mart for the 18-month, no-interest financing to replace our broken washer and dryer, thank "The Wire" TV series for showing me the pitfalls of drug dealing tho' in desperate times it's mildly appealing, and finally, thank you for Harper's very first class picture comprised of scowling teachers, silly faces, snotty noses, hair pulling, and visible underpants, for giving me an uncontrollable laughing fit for a good five minutes this afternoon. Felt pretty good. Amen.