I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it...Picasso

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Trip and Learn

Life piles up.  We get it straightened out, organized, manageable and we feel powerful.  In control.  We just know it's all going to work.  Work just the way we want it to.  To the T.  We can do anything we put our minds to.  Goal post here I come.  I can hear the crowd cheering already.  Yeah.  Alright.  Just a little push, a rally here at the end and I'm over the finish...

I trip on the finish line.  Well actually just before the end zone on that divot on the field, and down I go.  What the fuck?  Life, as they say, happens and I am ass over tea cup, dazed, confused and really pissed off.

Life has genuine passages.  Infancy, toddler hood, preschool, preteen, adolescence...middle age.  Every phase has it's requisite challenges and sometimes they all converge at the same time and no matter how prepared you are, no matter how  certain you are that you are going to whoop the odds, they nevertheless crash into your groomed and manicured life and knock you sideways like a stunt right out of a Jackass movie (one of my more embarrassing little life pleasures).  You can lay there and cry and cuss or you can laugh out loud and get up and limp back to life.  Sometimes a little of both is realistic.

So here's my situation.  NellsBelles is my passion, my baby, it's what I want to be doing.  I want to grow this business into a serious entity.  A money maker.  A creative endeavor that has it's own place in the world that carries my signature.  I want you to be able to recognize it as a Neely McCormick piece.  I want NellsBelles on the map on some level that is satisfying to me.

I have a life though.  And in my life is a husband who has been promoted in his job (good thing) and will be basically be in NYC for 4-6 weeks and a week in LA.  Repeat (maybe a good thing).  Then there is the chronically ill teen aged son who is recovering from major shoulder surgery and is trying to decide between three colleges before May 1st and so we are spending the month of April traveling to the three, each for one last look.  In the mean time, Dakota is trying to make up all the work he has missed while recovering and traveling and my husband and I are in financial limbo between a state school offering  enough scholarship money that our piece of it can be out of pocket to having to borrow $250,000 - and points in between.  Those decisions will determine whether we put our house on the market immediately or know that we have breathing room to do that when we feel more settled and prepared.  Oh, and did I mention that my husband has just lost one of his brothers after a struggle with cancer and I struggle on a daily basis with chronic neurological issues that cause me to be in pain every single day.

I tell you this, not for pity or excuse.  Good god, I don't have the life of a Haitian family living in a tent or a Japanese mother trying to figure out what to do with no husband, 2 kids and a radioactive house.  I have perspective to be sure.  No, I tell you this because I have a serious scheduling problem.  After I schedule the appointments with all the doctors and physical therapists.  After I adjust our activities because my husband will be out of town.  After I meet with the attorney and the accountant and the real estate agent and book hotel rooms and print out Mapquest directions to Acceptanced Students days and RSVP to Scholar Breakfasts.  After I  drag my tired teenager around campuses and try to get him to show a little enthusiasm for something about one of the institutions where he will be spending the next four years of his life and pop him another hydrocodone to push him on because he is in pain.  After I try to get 4 or 5 hours of sleep and get to the grocery store, try to make the house look clean when it's really not, do laundry and did I mention I have 2 dogs and an iguana that need to be feed, bathed and otherwise entertained - well then I get to put all my extra time into my beloved business.

There are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week and we all know they are just not enough.  I remember when we all became time conscience and got our Day Runners and Filofaxes, we started telling ourselves in that EST-ian way that time is made, not found.  An effective person, someone who is destined for success makes time for all that matters.  That way tasks get accomplished and goals are met.  Yet, if memory serves me, I had no kids - not even a husband and a mortgage and the only thing that determined my comings and goings was me, myself and I.

I have noticed that smart phones do not have an app to create more time to get shit done.  Nothing about the computer saves me any significant time except when it comes to exchanging information with people and the lack of phone calling does streamline the communication process.  But even with all my new found technology, I have no new found extra time.  There's more traffic than there used to be and waiting for a light can be an agonizing existential moment of what I could be doing if I didn't have to wait for other people to get to where they are going, just as frantic and frazzled as I am.  And when was the last time I walked from one place to the other instead of dashing and running and poking elevator buttons angrily as if it had any affect on time at all.

My New Year's resolution was to grow NellsBelles.  To take it beyond (but not away) from Etsy and into some new venues.  Promote myself.  Get my name out there.  Get some press.  Make some connections.  I've been able to get to a few trade shows and met a few people that are nice but not the people I am looking for to work with.  I'm still creating work (tho that has slowed significantly) but I feel like I am struggling not to fizzle out and wake up one day and think, "Remember when you had that little web site and you were selling the things you make?  Whatever happened to that?"  I don't want to be a...a...a.  Okay, I don't want to be a looser.  I want to scale this mountain of taken time and still be able to make this work.

One of the greatest books I ever read, back in the hippie days, was called The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment.  It was written by a guy in Berkley who was tripping on acid most of the time but the message of the book was plain, simple and the wisest advice I've ever gotten.  In times of challenge I repeat the mantra to get through - NO RESISTANCE.  Take that in for a moment.  When life is pushing so hard that you just know it's going to win, stop fighting back and go with the flow.  You don't walk toward a tsunami.  Allow there to be no time.  Accept that you are sick and tired of everything.  Acknowledge that what is going on right now is not about what you want but what you must do.  Admit that you are not super woman and believe that the status quo is not an immediate indicator of failure. 

My time will return.  In spades.  Before I know it I will be sitting in this chair with no one in the house but me and the animals.  The boy will be away at college and hubby will be in California.  I will have nothing but my own time.  Time will be all mine to use.  NellsBelles will be my baby, my life's work.  It will be what gets me up in the morning.

My life is calling for change.  If I don't do this how can I get that?  Not resisting means understanding that the things that frustrate us the most are often our greatest educators.  Somewhere in this cluster fuck of troublesome activity is knowledge and wisdom that will be handy in the months and years to come and if I pay attention now, I'll have it handy in my back pocket.  I'm in the process of finishing something I started 18 years ago.  Yes, I will always be his mommy but for both of us, on a deeply emotional level, he is leaving home.  He will always be my sun and moon and will be the reason I press on when I'd really rather not.  But he is leaving and NellsBelles is still a pregnancycy.  She will get my undivided attention very soon.  In the mean time, I have to attend to one of the most important things I will ever do.  Make sure he settles into a place where he will be comfortable and grow and then say goodbye.