Perspective is Key
a few holiday reminders as to whyWe've been way busy the last few weeks…all self-imposed mind you. We have been rushing trying to finish the studio project, mostly because we are excited to call it done but also because we’re leaving town for the holidays and it would be awesome if guests decided to book while we are away (and because we’d rather not come home to a project).
Its not like we have that much to do, but we committed to each other a while back to try and not leave a long list of lingering items left to be done with this project (blame it on the ADD, but finishing isn't exactly my forte).
We also listed it on AirBnB in hopes of getting guests, which suddenly made us realize that as soon as a guest booked it had to be ready. The last two weeks were filled with trimming, sealing, making the custom wall-mount table/stool set, custom pocket door hardware and wrapping everything up. Moments of near stress caused by lengthy to-do lists, but from a different perspective…a small amount of work to ensure that starting in a few weeks we have a new source of a little spending money.
We also have a few client projects coming to a head all at the same time (and just before leaving town, of course). Just to make sure I'm not getting an excessive amount of sleep. In a huge success and reason to celebrate, we finally got a permit that we've been battling the city over for months, so thats project is in full on GO mode (finally)!
Another project has been in drafting and sucking up more time than it should be. A couple nights ago, after a few all-too-busy days the deadline got pushed, a couple snafu’s occurred and suddenly i found myself pulling an all-nighter trying to get things ready for the client’s trip to the city first thing in the morning. I wrapped up the work about 5:30am after working all night, grabbed a cup of coffee (that my all-too-giving partner got out of bed just to make me) and drove across town to the only print shop open 24hrs to print. I walked out of the house bitter and grumbling under my breath, wishing i was in the warmth of bed and spooning/dreaming rather than walking out into the dark, cold and wet of night.
I got about 5 steps out the door when i looked across the street and saw my neighbor walking out of his (giant and brand new) house. As I started the car and pulled out i saw others leaving their house and clamoring into cars, and other still already at their place of business prepping for the day. It sank in that each of these people likely does this every day. Wakes up at the asscrack of dawn and stumbles grumpy and groggily into the world, some of them because they choose to, some because they need to, and some (like our neighbor) who need to because they choose to live in a giant house.
My attitude improved rapidly as i realized that not only do i not have to do this everyday, I'm only doing it today because i made the choice to. I got to make a decision about whether it was worth the extra mile of effort to make sure my client received her plans when she wanted them, whether i wanted to provide the best possible customer service rather than sending an email letting her know it just wasn't possible. I chose to stay up all night one night to make her holidays easier, to see the smile on her face and to keep my word and deadline, which in turn made me feel good. I pulled into the copy shop singing christmas carols to myself, having a good time with the two ladies working the night shift and was back home in no time, just enough to grab a 20minute nap before heading out to meet the client (who was elated).
A few days ago we went out to celebrate a few friends who are leaving to take an around the world trip (if thats not reason to celebrate, I'm not sure what is!). One of our dear friends (who we've mentioned here several times because she and her man have been working hard over the last few years to free themselves) lost her job earlier in the day. Laid off without notice. What was really interesting and noteworthy wasn’t that she had been laid off, but the fact that she was giddy. We watched and listened as she told people, watched their faces aghast at her loss and worried about her; and watched as she in turn laughed at her good fortune.
What an interesting perspective. I couldn't help but think about how many people would be thrown into absolute horror by her day. Would be in tears telling others about how unlucky they are or would have skipped the party altogether to stay home stressed and huddled into a ball trying to figure out what to do with their life. Instead, she clinks glasses and toasts us on being jobless and laughs about the opportunity for freedom and travel. All because a few years ago they developed a plan. They went after it, worked their asses off (after their day jobs and on weekends), and now they are close enough to comfort that she looks at the loss of her job as the universe telling her to quit a few months earlier than expected, calls her mom to join her for a celebratory lunch and then heads out to meet all of us at the bar. So awesome!
I couldn't be more proud of them…and I'm stoked both for them and for us. They get a life of freedom and we get friends with the time and flexibility to play and travel with us!
On the other side of the coin, we seem to be talking with or to a lot of people recently who are looking for a way to do the same. People who hate their job, have lost the passion for what they do and are looking for a way out. These are always difficult and emotional conversations and we aren't sure what to say in response. Our instinct is to simply shout “run away” or “leap and the net will appear”, but we barely know most of these people and don't know anything about their circumstances, what responsibilities they have at home or what circumstances brought them to this conversation.
Obviously our leaping was’t as simple as blindly pulling the ripcord. We spent years downsizing, saving, working to position ourselves to fully take advantage of whatever came our way during and after our trip. Years working those weekends and hours after our day jobs. Years living in construction zones and sleeping on plywood floors. Years getting by with less and saying no luxuries today so that we could say yes to freedom tomorrow.
I hope people keep finding some small hope in reading our story, keep finding the courage to reach out or to surround themselves with other who have similar dreams and goals of changing their lives for the better. It’s such a precious commodity life…and such a shame to spend even a day of it doing something less than whatever completely fulfills and energizes you each day.