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.
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.
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.
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.