Monday, August 12, 2013

let's start at the beginning.

I feel like every day I'm being required to do hard things, and this week, in particular, feels like it's full of the challenges and struggles that have been waiting for me all summer. This entire process has been so daunting, perhaps more than I ever originally anticipated, and so, today, I began to wonder: 

How did I get here? How did this happen? 

And then I remembered: A year ago, I found out my favorite bookstore was opening a new branch, moving to Tallahassee. And I did something I almost never do -- I took a risk. I sent an email. A long, rambling email about how much I loved books and dreamed of becoming the next Kathleen Kelly. 

Wouldn't you know it, I got a response back. 

That response led to a job at The Bookshelf Midtown, and a few, very short months later, that email led to this opportunity of a lifetime, to become the owner of a small town, brick-and-mortar bookstore. 

Look, these have been hard months. I think that's fair and important to say because every story has really hard parts. This summer has not been glamorous, easy, or fun. 

But today, while digging through my email archives, I found the email that started it all. And I remembered why I wanted this to begin with. 

It would be really easy to look back on this summer as one of the most difficult ever. It would be easy to remember it as the rainy one, the one where I got up for work and every day had to face some major or minor difficulty or challenge. 

But that wouldn't be entirely fair. Because while yes, this summer has had more than its fair share of rainy days, there also has been sunshine. 

I chose this. I could have a quit a long time ago, and I guess I would have been okay. 

But I chose to stick it out, and I'm choosing to move forward. 

This week will answer a lot of questions. By Labor Day, we'll have made our very final decision. 

We have experienced hard, rainy days. I won't try to gloss over them. I don't want to. 

But I also don't want to forget where this all started, how much I wanted it and why. 

It's easy to get lost in the rain, in the doubt and frustration and panic. 

This email, though, reminds me where this journey began, and all of a sudden? I feel very lucky after all. 


AbbieBabble said...

Oh Annie, I hope you know how many people are in your corner, rooting for you as you go through this time of transition. I know it's hard, but I also am certain that you will come out splendidly on the other side.

Annie said...

I've been following your bookstore journey on and off - I haven't been reading blogs much lately, or I'd've been stalking you like the paparazzi - and I'm just so excited for you and the opportunity in front of you, even though right now it's hard and not very glamorous.

I feel the same as you do about books; I went to the bookstore today with a friend and had a hard time putting up Sophie Hudson's memoir even though I already had it on Kindle for iPhone. There's just something about the book itself, pages between fingers and slightly raised ink. I wish I could say something more about the feeling of a book inside hands than that worn cliche, but I can't quite dig the words out.

I think you will look back years from now on this moment, on this season, as something miraculous. Not necessarily because it defied logic or nature or anything else, but because grace and boldness and faith was in the middle of it, and those are the qualities I think we often see far better in hindsight.

And supposing this time next week you find yourself the owner of a bookstore, and should you ever need a bookseller or other employee, there's another bibliophile Annie who's more than willing to relocate to Georgia to make that happen. ;]

Ray Sherlock said...

You are resilient and courageous. Your life is an unfinished book. I and others are rooting for the ultimate feel good book of a lifetime. I am also willing to help make the dream better in any way. I am available for service in any capacity you deem proper. I am looking forward to the next chapter and thankful for the time in between.

Jovita said...

Wow Annie, you have so much courage! I'm sure you're amazing at your bookstore and I hope that you will never lose your joy over your job! May you be blessed as you pursue and live out your dreams!