Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Love Needs A Little More Time

A cold sore. I've had a cold sore off/on for over a month. You really shouldn't start a life changing story with an unsightly virus. But it's the outward sign of my inward spiral. Crashing my truck on Wednesday-well that's a little too much manifest stress. So it's time to express what I've been holding on to for months.

"A story is starting, and this story ends"

Starting. It might be intimidating and uncertain. But it also holds a lot of promise. People will expect you to make mistakes. Course correct.  There is always bravery in starting.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Or so they say.

But any novelist, director, lawyer or athlete will tell you it always comes down to the ending. How you wrap up is what will be remembered. Ask a gymnast, the most points are lost in a routine's finale. This is me trying to stick the landing.

I have a Master's of Public Administration in Non-Profit Management. It's an MBA for people that believe in a cause, want to work hard and make half as much money. Business planning is a core course. And one of the most important questions in planning is "how will this end?" It seems odd to ask how something will cease before it starts but like the Lion King, business has a circle of life.

There are several choices. You can sell it. You may leave it to someone else. Or you can close the doors. Terminal illness didn't really figure into the business plan. Does it ever? Unfortunately it is a leading cause of why a business closes.

We are entering the 3rd year of Bruce's cancer.  The fact that he is still here and has a good quality of life is nothing short of a miracle.  But things are progressing. Gratefully it has been slow but I am moving too fast. I run the studio. I run a full-time commission business. I run classes. I run remodeling. And I run-yes just run. And the more I believe I'm moving forward the more ground I'm losing.

"Time used to move softly when I was at home. It went on without me and left me alone."

There are 5 common regrets with loss. They are:

"I wish I'd had the courage to be true to myself.
"I wish I hadn't worked so hard."
"I wish I'd expressed my feelings."
"I wish I'd stayed in touch with people I care about."
"I wish I'd let myself be happier."

I'm lucky because we have time to live a life with less regret but smart enough to know that time has a limit.  So the time has come for me to choose to be more present in our life and that means letting something go. That something is Surfaces.

I've been a proud studio owner for 16 years. In that time, I've provided training and mentorship for hundreds of artists. It's been a joy in my life to help other people start and succeed at business.  Lucky people get to indulge their creativity and be inspired by others. Luckier people get to have lasting and meaningful friendships with those talented people. I am the luckiest. My local community helped me get our home ready to sell. Brought me meals. Helped me move. Gave me an amazing 50th birthday party. Took my classes. Bought my product. I'm forever grateful. I know we will have more amazing times.

 A special thank you to Mary Walker for having her studio within my studio. She has been a good advisor, source of knowledge, a supportive artist and great friend. I will miss hearing her laugh-it's one of a kind!

Working with younger women has been a highlight of my time at Surfaces. In particular, I've enjoyed my time with Ashley who I've watched transition from studio assistant to incredible mother to four darling children...

and with Emily.

Emily has run things at the studio. First, when Bruce got sick. Then when we moved. An now while I'm working in the field. Here even temperament and trustworthiness has kept our studio going the past 3 years. She will be continuing her education and we wish her all the best!

During this time, I've been a proud member of the Faux Effects Family. In the early days of Bruce's illness, we were in and out of the hospital. Faux Effects sent me months worth of gourmet meals that got us through those chaotic times. We've spoken several times as I go through this transition and we share a commitment to helping our clients. They have been supportive and I look forward to continuing my relationship with FE in the future.

I've also enjoyed a good relationship with the other Faux Effects distributors. We've talked through out Bruce's illness and I appreciate their support. It's a tough time to be a studio owner with the changing market and the demographic shifts. It takes a lot of time and money to offer quality classes and products. I will be sending them each a list of the products that I use the most in my classes. Please support your local distributor-they work hard for you! And I look forward to teaching at their studios in the future.

Our last day is May 1st. It was suppose to be June 1st but that's another story (and cold sore).

 I've loved my time at Surfaces and this is the hardest decision I've had to make so far.

I'm moving my studio to our home where I can continue my commission business.  I'm attending a conference in April to build my business, marketing and social media skill sets as I explore exciting ways to evolve my love of the decorative arts. There will be time to revisit this blog and indulge my love of writing. I've catalogued so many makeovers, DIY projects and funny little stories. I've submitted to teach at IDAL and will be teaching in Utah, Florida and Ohio this year.

And with all that, this story ends where it began. Being present for my life with Bruce and my pack (Bridgette, Murray and Jack Fyre). Let's hope I make the landing.

A story needs a reason and rhyme. And my love needs a little more time.

"Saturday Morning" written by Tom Chapin, 1982.