I've been feeling a bit nostalgic as of late...I've been looking back at earlier times both in my personal life and with my business and reminiscing and celebrating the growth I've made in the past few years, since I started my business officially in 2019. Although COVID has had am impact on my momentum and many of the plans I had in mind for my small business, I can honestly say that I am thankful for all of the challenges and obstacles sent my way as they have only forced me to get more creative and dive deeper into a chapter of learning and growing. Of reaching out to my creative community and encouraging and supporting one another in a variety of ways.
Today I wanted to share an excerpt from a post I wrote following my first year as an official business:
Jan 1, 2020
"...and just like that, 2019 comes to a close--Wanderess Gear's first year as a registered business! Honestly, this has been one of the most rewarding, formative years of my life.
Aside from my passion for creating, which has been like a flame burning within me all my life; inspiring me, sustaining me, propelling me forward...the other driving force behind starting this small business was my own way of creating permanence.
I grew up in a small town in Southwest Michigan and lived in and near there for 22 years. It wasn't until Stephen and I got together at the end of that time that I started to "wander". ;) [foreshadowing...] First, was Thailand. [Quite the cultural jump for this small-town girl who had only been out of the U.S. once beforehand, to visit Montréal.] Here, we worked as English teachers in 2012. Not long afterwards at the end of that year, Stephen landed a job in Greenville, South Carolina, so we packed up and made our way down South. Over the next few years, we settled into our new "hometown". We got a dog, chickens (you know, normal stuff), got married, bought our first house...all while fitting in international travel wherever we could in the limited vacation time our U.S. jobs allowed. Then in 2016 the travel bug, the longing, the "fernweh" returned...and the opportunity arrived in the form of an extended business trip through Stephen's job to Munich, Germany. Planning on 5 months away, we packed up a small portion of our belongings and left our beloved dog-ter with my in-laws, to live in a hotel near downtown Munich. This "business trip" expanded into 9 months (8 for me, as I returned to the U.S. early to accept a nanny position for an expat French family in Greenville!). So we spent 2017 back in our home in Greenville, SC--only to called back to Munich--this time asking Stephen to accept an expat position. Mind you, I had just gotten a new little flock of backyard chickens and was enjoying my current job quite immensely...but settled and comfortable though I was, even I couldn't help "ruffling up the nest" and grasping the opportunity. Thank goodness we did.
I remember telling Stephen I would agree to go if 1) we brought Neela this time and 2) I could use this chance to develop the creative business my heart was longing for but my head was afraid to take seriously. I decided then that if I was going to keep uprooting myself, it was time I created something of my own which I could take with me no matter where I was in the world and be able to continue to better myself and develop my skill set.
I had spent years telling myself my job should look a certain way in order to feel worthy. I'd worked in multiple capacities: libraries, a school, multiple offices and even as an ABA therapist for children with autism at one point. Every job has added value to my life. Throughout that time, I was always creating and found that these were the times when I was most at peace and in a true "flow state". Like many others, I wanted to be brave and put myself out there in order to share, grow and improve myself and my work...but I had all of the usual excuses: I'm not good enough. Somebody else is certainly already doing what I want to do. I'm too introverted. I will sound disingenuous. I can earn more for fewer hours working a different job. Others will judge me. BUT I eventually made up my mind that none of that really mattered and I wasn't going to live my life for anyone else. :D WOOT for being able to get out of your own way. I made the leap and it has brought me so much closer to my true self in the process. Aside from the satisfaction I receive through the entire creative process, sharing my work with others and bringing them joy...the COMMUNITY of other makers/creatives/entrepreneurs I have found while following my passion has been the real missing piece in my life.
I promised I would try to get more personal over here with you...so I hope this post delivered. In 2020, I aim to be better at this aspect of my business and share with you more often--so that I don't have to write what would really best lend to a blog post. ;) HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!"
...and now it has made its way into a blog post...