Could You Describe the Ruckus, Sir?

Welcome to Vicky Bell's blog.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Barn's burnt down. Now I can see the moon...



I'd seen it before, but this haiku by Japanese poet  Masahide caught my eye as  I researched quotes for the sign in front of my store.
The store which will soon be closed-  6 months after opening and probably 5 months too late.
I am not surprised- I knew the odds for small businesses, especially start-ups, especially those that are under-funded.

So when the store first presented itself I told my husband we'd either be wildly successful or lose everything.  He was game (you gotta love a husband like that), so I went for it.
Now? Well.
 
We have a long road to travel to get back up to zero, and some complicated math stuff ahead that I'm sure is going to give me a headache.  I can't pay the store bills, and I can't pay the bills at home either.  My  mortgage company is making noises at me and I'm maxed out on my cards.
So, was it irresponsible to risk everything?  And am I sorry I took such a leap?

A little, maybe.  And hell no.

I get some interesting reactions when I tell people I will be closing the store.  There is the expected empathy and encouragement.  But from some is an almost palpable fear- a disbelief that we could have risked and lost and a genuine worry for what will happen to us now.

Really?
Because it is only money, people.  Not family or friends or health or happiness- just money.  I am so glad that I had the courage to try- and knowing the outcome I would do it again (maybe just a little differently, lol).

Because what do we need, really?  Life is for living, and I would much rather risk and lose than to always play it safe.  Safety is an illusion anyway- we never know- not one of us- what tomorrow might bring.


So I am not at all disturbed at the prospect of being poor (again);  we've been there before, learned plenty, and know we'll be ok.

Anyway, Sussex County is so lovely this time of year.  How could I- why would I- waste time worrying about my bank account when everywhere is vast, lush color spread out over our little mountains, and heavy against the autumn sky?  I get to run in those mountains. I get to hear the leaves crunch underfoot, feel the cool air in my lungs, use the strength in the legs God gave me to lift myself up and up along trails too gorgeous to explain.

And none of that costs me a dime.

Last weekend we had the enormous good fortune to be able to visit our middle child and his gf (my other girl) in their new, first, home about 5 hours from here.  We had saved some "free night" hotel certificates and used them for a wonderful weekend with the kids.  The weather was fine, and the sights were great, but more than that was the real pleasure of seeing how wonderful a life these two are making for themselves. 

And yesterday I read  about a multi-millionaire who was in the process of giving it all away, having come to the conclusion that his money, houses, cars, boats, vacations and lifestyle did nothing at all to contribute to his happiness.  He decided to keep one modest home in his favorite small town where "people are real",  and allow himself a stipend of $1,300 a month.  Happiness, he decided, is relationships with family, time to putter in the garden, books.

That seems right to me.  I'm not at all saying I don't need, want or like money.  I'd certainly like to have enough to stop the constant struggle.
But I know what makes me happy.  My family. The woods. Books. Art. Gardens, museums (often free), music, babies, time for doing nothing.  Those things, in abundance, are happy-makers.
Money? not so much.  Money is more of a worry-maker.  So I suppose in some ways, the less I have, the less I'll have to worry about.

And that is ok with me.

Besides, I'm ready for my next adventure.  I'm ready to put this store behind me, lie beside the man I love, and look at the moon.

18 comments:

  1. There is a certain pain and sadness to losing a store. Years ago we had a brick and mortar store that we put together with partners. It was actually successful, but the partners wanted out and we didn't have the financial where withal to buy them out so we liquidated. The sadness of letting it go goes far beyond any financial considerations.

    Irresponsible? Only those who would not have the nerve to try would consider it so. You are to be congratulated on giving it your best attempt. In business there is no such thing as a "sure bet."

    It's just another stepping stone to get to wherever you're going. And there are many of us who know without a doubt that you'll get there. And when you get there the people who didn't have the nerve to try will be talking about how "lucky" you are and how things are just easy for some people.

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  2. I was wishing I could "like" your comment a'la facebook, when it occurred to me I should simply tell you, gee, I really like your comment. It's good to hear those things, especially from one who has been there. So thank you. Very much:-)

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  3. You continue to be so ... you! Honest... unpretentious... un-brainwashed... the bravest person I know (except for spiders "the size of puppies" and some other things). You continue to be an artist-of-living and an inspiration, certainly to me and at least 49,503 others (this week). Thanks not only for your bravery in building the barn (and seeing it burn with such grace), but also for your ability to look at the moon ... and even moreso, for pointing at the moon (again) while so subtly reminding us that the point is not to focus on your finger!

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  4. I am just loving your blog! And you're right-Sussex County is spectacular this time of year. I agree that life is for living and I look forward to reading about your next adventure : )

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  5. I am freaking out that you are following my blog! I feel like I've got my first celebrity fan!

    http://amandakiska.blogspot.com

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  6. I'm so sorry about your shop. I think this is the start of new possibilities for you! Remember to think like the writer of the haiku. There is always a good side to every situation. I wish you the best of luck!

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  7. I'm sorry about your store, but I have to say, your outlook is so positive it is a real inspiration. You are right about playing it 'safe' - we never really are safe, are we? Thanks for sharing your story and good luck to you on your future path.

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  8. See there you go again with the wonderful wisdom, proving that it wasn't just a fluke. I'm sorry about the loss of your store, but congratulate you on the courage and imagination it took you to open it, because businesses come and go, but those qualities will serve you faithfully for a lifetime.

    And you are so right about what is really valuable in life. Not work or the accumulation of money, but the things for whose sake we do that.

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  9. I just discovered your site and just wanted to say that your story is so inspiring. I love your outlook on life. I'm sorry about the store but it sounds like it was a great experience regardless.

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  10. All I can say is that I really needed to read this today. Thank you for your inspiring words!

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  11. Wishing you joy in abundance! I completely agree that happiness does not come from posessions of any sort. Go on following your dreams

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  12. Hey! I figured out how to do it! I amaze myself sometimes....

    Here are the lyrics and video to one of my favorite songs "A Much Better View of the Moon" by Modern Man. Seems to me they were written just for you! I constantly refer to this song when I get uptight about situations in my life that I can't control.

    "I used to walk through this world
    cautious and oh, so serious,
    Till the life I was living was nearly
    a near-death experience;
    But I changed my story when I finally saw,
    where I was wasn't where it was at,
    And now I'm alive, I let destiny drive,
    and I'm stretching out in the back.

    If I lose my job, I'll sleep till noon,
    If the news is bad, I'll watch cartoons;
    If my house burns down, I'll have lots more room,
    And a much better view of the moon.

    In the vastness of space,
    the ever-expanding universe,
    We are all puny specks of galactic dust
    down here on mother earth;
    Now, I ain't no preacher, don't know if I'll reach ya,
    but here is some humble advice:
    Use your uncommon sense and you surely will live
    an uncommonly sensible life.

    If you lose your job, sleep till noon,
    If the news is bad, watch cartoons;
    If your house burns down, you'll have lots more room,
    And a much better view of the moon.

    Now, I ain't no preacher, don't know if I'll reach ya,
    But here is some humble advice:
    Use your uncommon sense and you surely will live,
    An uncommonly sensible life.

    If you lose your job, sleep till noon,
    If the news is bad, watch cartoons;
    If your house burns down, you'll have lots more room,
    And a much better view of the moon.

    If you lose your job, sleep till noon,
    If the news is bad, watch cartoons;
    If your house burns down, you'll have lots more room,
    And a much better view of the moon.

    If I lose my job, I'll sleep till noon,
    If the news is bad, I'll watch cartoons;
    If my house burns down, I'll have lots more room,
    And a much better view of the moon."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okknwn9go0k

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  13. That is a definitely a "glass half full" outlook, which is great as long as the rest of us aren't paying the price of your carefree, high risk endeavors. Our neighbors who foreclosed have lowered the value of our property and that has affected our chances of refinancing. Banks that don't get paid, turn around a raise fees for all customers so they can make up their losses. Maybe your blog will pay off big though! I wish you luck

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  14. So sorry to hear about closing your store. I really admire you for taking the chance. And I'm with you on that "it's only money" thing. Life's too short to worry about it and as the old saying goes, when when door closes another one opens. Maybe your next career step will be writing. I was also all set to tell you about the song Anne posted but she beat me to it, LOL! It's one of three songs I want played at my funeral. It's such an optimistic outlook.

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  15. That was supposed to be "when one..."

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  16. Came across this blog posting while searching for Masahide's haiku .. now I'm wondering, five months on, how are ya?!

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  17. Well Mr. Ig........ I'm doing fine. With an empty nest at home our expenses are fewer and we're being careful. Slowly paying our debt down. Taking a day at a time and enjoying what we have. Grateful for everything.

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