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The Past Four Years

April 30th, 2009


Something happens pretty often to me. When I need sleep the most, that’s when I’m least likely to get it. At least in any satisifying kind of way. I might fall asleep easily, but within hours, am awake, and thinking. It’s not surprising that after an evening of phone calls back and forth with Sandra to deal with business stuff, I was not only exhausted, but finding it impossible to turn off my brain.

Last night, specifically, I was pondering the last four years of my life. Four years ago, pretty much today, I was a few hours into a six week journey that took me not only around the world, but also from a place of being a hard-working software developer to a harder-working creative entrepreneur. Starting out, I never expected that later that year, I’d be reinventing my entire universe.

Reflecting on just how many changes I’ve been through in the past four years boggles my mind a little. Three jobs. One business. Three books. More than two dozen designs. Hundreds of knitting and crochet students. Two major metropolitan areas. One perfectly beautiful wedding to the love of my life. Three retreats, the last of which hosted 92 students. At least ten pairs of socks. More websites than I care to count. Seventeen job interviews. Two fantastically fabulous dogs. Four cellphones and a blackberry. Too many hours spent at YYZ waiting on flights. Ten cycles and two IUIs trying to conceive. About thirty-five dreams (and a hundred knitting projects) cast on and then frogged. Way too many tough decisions to count.

Sandi commented on my last entry, that I’ve lead an ‘interesting and varied life’. I’ve been pondering that a lot for the last couple of days. My life has always been, and likely will always be, complicated. As much as, right now, I’m looking forward to several years of going home after work, taking the dogs for a walk, and cooking dinner with my wife, and very little else… my inner Sagittarius is having a good laugh, knowing that my life is not destined to be easy, quiet, or predictable.

And so, it’s interesting that I’m back again, exactly where I started in a lot of ways. In the Spring of 2005, I was working as an actionscripter for this really incredible startup in San Jose. I was a core part of a small team doing really great work. Now, I’m a more general developer for this really incredible startup-like group of people in the Ontario Cabinet. And again, I’m a core part of a small team doing really great work. And you know what? I love it now just like I did back then.

Still, I have to wonder. Would all this have happened had I not taken a six-week break from my normal daily life? Although the business didn’t work for us, not the way we’d hoped, it was such an incredible experience. That first year was euphoric. Such hard long hours of work, but the feeling I got seeing the store full of knitters, of new friends, of pure creativity… well, I don’t have words to adequately describe how much that meant, at the time, and even now. The three retreats we organized, too, gave me the chance to really grab hold of a few perfect moments of knowing that none of it would have been possible without that idea we had, back in the fall of 2005.

Sometimes I’m amazed at the cyclical nature of the world. Four years ago yesterday, I had no idea I’d be opening a yarn shop. But all the decisions that resulted in the store, in a lot of ways, started exactly then. And here it is, almost to the exact day, and that era is drawing to a gentle and positive conclusion as we begin a transition to new ownership.

Letting go of this baby store I helped create is hard. And it’s easy to slip into moments of regret, of wondering if it we’d have been better off working in our chosen careers, bringing home regular paychecks, not ever knowing the satisfaction of working only for yourself.

Life would certainly have been a lot easier had my path not been so curvy and twisted over the past four years. But the longer I live, the less I believe it’s possible – or even desirable – to have a straight and easy road to travel through life.

So, to the tiny baby me of four years ago, I have just a tiny bit of advice.

Hang on tight.

You’re in for a hell of a ride.

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8 Responses to “The Past Four Years”

  1. M Ward Says:

    And…I’m crying. Happy tears, from the wedding. Beautiful.

  2. Jen Bennett Says:

    Keep hanging on girl!!! I know what you mean!! My life has been up and down, upside-down, in and out and inside-out!!! I don’t know what else to do, but jump up on this crazy beast called “life” and ride like crazy!!!!

  3. Laura Says:

    This was a wonderful post to read, at a poignant time for me. Thanks.

  4. Christine Says:

    It IS amazing when you actually step out of yourself, look back, and see changes that have occured and how you’ve grown. Wonderful blog, as usual!!

  5. SamLaTricoteuse Says:

    Looking back, and just past that curve, we feel exhausted but yet, we have grown and changed. Change – even in tough times – to me – is always positive no matter what. Cause when we front adversity, big life changes, that when we grow the most.. but we only see this, after, long after the facts or the events. I am sure everything is for the best….

  6. Nicole Says:

    Well said!

  7. Denise D. Says:

    You are such an inspiration!!!

  8. Denise D. Says:

    You are such an inspiration!

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