Eleven years ago, as a spritely, bubbling and somewhat naive non-adult, I leapt into the world of business by starting a hair salon with a girlfriend. Armed with no experience and a ton of ideas, we went for it as dreamers sometimes do. Like many decisions I made in my teens, the gravity and potential consequences of such choices comes later when the inevitability of reality strikes, which is never at the beginning when it all just seems like sunshine and awesome.
During the construction and creation phase, we worked day and night and the stress that fuelled my action promised to be over once we actually opened. I dreamed of just dealing with day to day stress of managing clients, doing the work, hiring staff...y’know, that fun stuff. None of this ‘hey, we have to jack hammer up this concrete floor to run the pluming for the sinks,’ garbage. Did I mention we did all the planning and labour ourselves with supportive friends and family and endless runs to beer store?
Once we were into the day to day of filling that appointment book, managing the money rolling in, realizing that not only did we have to charge tax, we had to submit that shit to the government, well, things started to get real. Looking back, with all things considered we sure did a bang up job. But goodness, mania and panic and procrastination really became the lifestyle of that decade. When I heard myself saying to someone that I missed being in the construction phase, that I missed the open ended creativity and that the day to day of running a business lacks the avenues for true creative fulfillment, I knew I had a problem.
That green grass. Things are better over there. I will arrive when…I was bloody well nineteen years old when I first realized that I was compulsively addicted to being somewhere other than I am. Do you think that made a difference? Not really. That’s the bitch of insight without concrete practice to move you elsewhere (which is an ironic statement given the context of this paragraph). In fact, having insight can be a trickster, because we ‘know’ something, we think we’re no longer looping around and chasing our tail in unconscious habit. But what we conceptually understand about our own nature and how we actually behave are often misaligned, or there is at least a gap. So while I spent the next decade believing that I had a grasp on my penchant for greener pastures, I carried on dreaming about better.
Now I watch it with no illusions that it’s been overcome, it’s driving me moment by moment. If I can pull back on my impulse to explode out of the current moment and into action, like pulling reins on a wild horse, I can really feel what’s happening now. And what’s happening now is always a little more real and a little less interesting than what my mind can cook up. But there’s relief and satisfaction here. There’s air in my lungs and Earth beneath my feet. I am warm and dry and alive. The luxury of this mustn’t be understated.