Monday, May 20, 2013

i suppose it's the brave thing to do.

"People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all . . . has happened."

- You've Got Mail

My store is closing. 

My store is closing, and in two weeks, I'll pack up boxes of books and product, and I'll make the 45-minute trek up the road to Thomasville, Georgia, where I'll be working -- and who knows, maybe living -- for the next season of this life. 

Eight months ago, when Jordan and I first discussed the possibility of quitting my corporate job and managing this tiny store in midtown, we left no stone unturned. It's our nature, I think, to over analyze, to pro-con the mess out of things. So we discussed, at length, what we would do if the store didn't last. 

We discussed, and we decided: We wanted to do it anyway. We were willing to take the risk in order to see if this dream that had been percolating in my mind for so long might have the gumption to survive. 

It turns out, by the way, that I love this job. It is hard, hard work, and some days, it can be just as mundane as a desk job. But there are these moments that make up for it all, moments when a kid reads a book in a corner, or I connect with a customer about a book club selection. Through the hard and easy days, it has been such a relief to know that a dream can come true, a relief to know: I can do this. I am doing this.

The store isn't closing because it is failing. Jordan and I didn't count on that back when we were counting the cost of things. We didn't discuss what we'd do if the business thrived, but the owner wanted to pull back resources and focus on one location. 

News of the store's closing, then, came as a shock. When something is financially succeeding, when a small business is embraced by the community, you just kind of assume it will all keep going, as-is, unchanged. Because why change what's working?

But as with corporate business, small businesses must go where the money is. And the store's owner -- who I have a lovely relationship with -- is changing directions. She's growing her family, and she's choosing to turn all of her finances and attention to her larger store. And because of some new directions in her life, she has graciously offered me the chance to join her in Thomasville as owner of The Bookshelf.

It is a huge opportunity, and lots of friends and family have offered me their congratulations on this next step.

The thing is, though, it hurts. All of it. This little Tallahassee store? It has become mine. The customers, the books, the displays? I've cultivated and curated those things. And it's simply not in my nature to say goodbye easily.

I don't want to tell loyal customers and friends we're closing. I don't want to shut down story time. I don't want to explain the ins and outs. I'm simply not ready to mourn this chapter yet.

So the congratulations feel premature.

And the excitement comes and goes in waves.

Because this would mean big change -- big risk -- for us. Financially. Geographically.

Owner, I'm sure you understand, is quite different from manager. And Thomasville is different from Tallahassee.

For the next two months, then, I'll be working in Thomasville, commuting to that flagship store every day to get the hang of things. To meet new faces, to grasp new tasks, to see if we all mesh together as easily as I hope.

Come August, Jordan and I will be more equipped to make a final decision. Though of course, things are obviously leaning a certain way. I wouldn't be sharing this if we weren't ready to make some type of announcement. Come August, we'll sign papers, maybe even buy a home.

There's a lot still up in the air, but I'm tired of bearing the burden alone. (I don't know what I'd have done these past few months without Jordan, my family, and, if I'm being honest, Netflix.) I finally needed to write it all out, to clear my head, to explain why I've been silent, absent, and a little confused.

A lot is going on in my corner of the world, and much of it is outside my control.

Today, then, I'm choosing to focus on saying goodbye, on mourning this very short chapter of what continues to be an adventurous, lovely life. It has been absolutely wonderful, a learning experience I wouldn't trade for all the money in the world.

And even though it hurts, I am choosing to believe my dear friend Kathleen Kelly.

Closing the store -- saying goodbye -- is the brave thing to do. 


Heather Burris said...

Best of luck, Annie! Good for you for choosing to be brave--I think something great will come out of this :)

jenna said...

You are a beautiful, brave, radiant light that reflects HIM in such a lovely way. I am confident that this scary change will only open up a greater abundance of life than you ever imagined. Scary? Yes. Since you're still in the mourning stage, I will hold on to my "congratulations" for later. But know that I'm feeling that building excitement for you. And I'll keep feeling it and lifting it up to the Father for you until your ready to fully grab hold of all that yourself! :)
So much love for you, Annie!

mary kate said...

I have a feeling that you will be great at this! You are becoming a real life Kathleen Kelly! Even if there are struggles ahead, it is always worth following a dream. Good Luck with the transition!

Kristen said...

Praying over you and your big adventure. What a lovely, yet scary, time in your life.

Kari said...

Wow, Annie! I am proud to know my own Kathleen Kelly.

Kristen said...

Praying over your big changes. What a lovely, yet scary, time in your life.

Love Kathleen Kelly and her very present, appropriate words. Being brave is hard!

Ashley said...

So happy for you! I can see you in one of my favirite movies of all time as the shop owner. If we ever make it back to the part of the states, to share a past chapter of our lives with our children, I will bring them to your bookstore. It would be enchanting for them I know! Thank you for sharing and prayers for you.

monster cakes said...

OWNER?! So excited for you and proud of you! EEP! Keep me posted.

Anonymous said...

I was working on a blog post yesterday, starting it with a little You've Got Mail quote, then I came here and grinned. Naturally, Kathleen Kelly can cover so many emotions and life events.

It's new and it's different and a little bit scary, but when you're ready to be excited, I think you're just going to lose it with glee. This is so great--not without it's hurts--but great nonetheless.

And I'm still making the drive to meet you in real life in the fall. Even with a little added distance, I may never be that close!

Grateful for you, Annie.

Brittany said...

Change is the hardest thing. But if it means anything, I really admire the way you're making brave career choices. I bet you love it so much because you chose it. And I'm secretly so jealous you have your own bookstore.

Hoping your store doesn't become something terrible, like a Baby Gap ;)

Taylor Elyse said...

That's so exciting! (And scary) I'm always inspied by people who choose to be brave with their lives.


Katie Cook said...

I just found your blog and am in love. YOU my dear are so brave, brave to follow what the Lord is doing even when it doesn't make sense. I LOVE books and this picture of your store captivated me! My husband and I recently moved to Nepal to work at an aftercare home here for girls rescued out of trafficking. It's been an amazing time, but one of the most beautiful byproducts of living here is all the free time I have to read, and read and read. When you have no electricity, it's the best to snuggle up with a good book. Can't wait to follow your adventures! Thanks for the inspiration! Love Katie