Confession: our Christmas tree is still displayed in all its waning glory, twinkling from the corner of our living room, both comforting and teasing me, I think. It's a reminder the season has passed, but the new year hasn't really started, at least not in our home.
I spent the majority of this week at market in Atlanta, rifling through three buildings and 60+ stories of consumeristic America, trying to find the perfect pieces for the store I've grown to love. It's hard work, this spending-money-I-don't-really-have. The store had a profitable holiday season, but it's January, and our days are slow. This makes cash limited, but the store is empty post-Christmas, and it's my job to fill it with beautiful things to sell -- a task requiring money even though it's not really coming in.
It's a difficult business, entrepreneurship. The learning curve is so steep, and in this new year, I'm trying to show myself grace, trying to remember I haven't been a business owner for very long, and some mistakes are inevitable. I'm considering market a success then, despite running low on cash and taking risks on a few lines we've never carried. This is what it means to own a small business, and I need to celebrate even the smallest successes.
So these first two weeks of 2014 have been busy, exciting. Small changes are coming to the store, changes to make The Bookshelf look and feel more like me while still serving as a home base for customers who've grown comfortable with the way things are. I've had meeting upon meeting to tie up loose ends and sort out new products and lines, and this week, I'll cross my fingers and pray the changes have been worth the time and effort.
On Monday, too, we'll close on our first home. (How's that for burying the lead?) Back in October, we fell in love with a tiny little house on a beautiful street in downtown Thomasville. Our offer on the home eventually fell through, and we decided the timing was off. We'd wait until the new year to keep looking. We were exhausted, and the holidays didn't seem like the right time to restart the home search. Then, on one of our rare lazy days in December, we got a phone call while at the movies together. The other buyer's financing never panned out, and our offer was next in line.
All month long, Jordan and I have been scrambling to get our ducks in a row, to finalize paperwork and seal the deal. Poor Jordan has done more than his fair share of communication with realtors and bankers, insurance companies and loan officers. I've done my part, sure, but it's hard to buy a home in the middle of your first holiday season in retail, so Jordan has really picked up my slack.
What I'm saying is: Monday we're buying a house. And we're excited, yes. But mostly, we're tired. I arrived home late from market last night, so I didn't go into the store today. Instead, it's raining outside, and we're curled up in the little home we're about to say goodbye to. Monster's University just finished, and Jordan fell asleep on his end of the couch. I have a book to read and catalogs to sort, but I don't feel like tackling those tasks quite yet. There's a Christmas tree to take down, and apparently now there's packing to do, but for some reason, I don't seem to care. I want to sit here just a little longer.
January has always been for starting new habits, for re-centering my life and claiming a new word as my own. I love this time of year, filled with fresh starts and new beginnings. I love it, but I also know real life happens. I've got new goals percolating, and a new word sets at the very tip of my tongue. But first, there's a house to buy and a house to pack. There's a business to refresh and closets to purge.
In 2014, I'm just going to do the best I can. I'm choosing for that to be enough.