I have started referring to the remaining time we have left in this house as the “End of Days”. It isn’t just the apocalyptic scenes of half-packed boxes and stacks of broken toys and worn out clothes ready to be chucked out or donated respectively, or eating out the dregs of the freezer and pantry, but it more of a mental shift that this life we lead here is coming to an end.
Though I haven’t written much about it here, the last 6 months have been incredibly difficult. We arrived back from a trip to London with letters from our neighbours and our landladies indicating we are a nuisance, disruptive and disliked by “a number of neighbours”. Our offenses? Letting the children play in the living room. Doing the dishes without the aid of a dishwasher. Our children not sleeping through the night. An elderly cat dying. It wasn’t totally out of the blue, we had received many such letters from one neighbour detailing the hours that my children woke during the night, as well as frequent complaints, visits about the offenses and banging on the walls – resulting in moving the childrens’ bedroom a total 4 times in 3 years. Our tenancy, which we thought was reasonably secure, was put in question.
At the same time, I took 2 big (read: expensive) business risks and they failed. Costing us money and energy we didn’t have.
I stopped sleeping. I cried a lot. I drank a lot of wine. I tried to keep a business and a family going, with anxiety crushing down on my chest, making it almost impossible to breathe, let alone think or create.
More and more, I feel like we inhabit a world of only successes filled with magazine quality blogs and Facebrags. Small businesses exclaiming Just. How. Busy. they are. Failures are glossed over and then swept under the rug as a funny story.
Personally and professionally, these last 6 months have defined me, my business and our family in ways I didn’t expect. I have made decisions to cut back on all but the most essential work and even then, doing more of the things I love (designing, photography, building community) and less of the things I don’t (kits, working for free). It was my constant chasing of paychecks, not trusting my gut and stepping out of my skill set that led to my subsequent poor business decisions.
The enforced move acted as a catalyst for reassessing what it was we truly wanted for ourselves and our kids. A country girl at heart, I realised that life in suburbia was making it hard for me to breathe and my inability to simply walk outside my door and be in the woods had to be rectified, if possible. I needed to garden. The kids needed to live without constantly being told to “be quiet” “don’t jump” “sorry you can’t go out and play”. We wanted the kids in a smaller school, not a 400 pupil primary where they may not even know all of their class mates. Clarity was born out of animosity, and for that, I am grateful (but I will not be writing any thank you cards).
And so, we have 4 days left and then its off to the new world. Tomorrow, when the kit shop closes, I am not 100% sure when it will reopen and then it might only be to sell off stock. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that, in business and in life, adventures await.