As the end of the year approached, the realization that it’s also the end of a DECADE really started to sink in.
This decade began with a bit of a fizzle. We made the hard decision to consolidate back under one roof, closing our SWAK in the City store. The effects of juggling a new baby and a business started to take its toll, coupled with a massive decline in the yarn market. The good-times of the turn of the millennium came to a screeching halt, and everyone in the industry was struggling to hang on. Many did not survive.
If I were to sum up my experience of this past decade with one word it would be SURVIVAL. Just about anyone can have a successful business when the market is good. It doesn’t take much skill. But when the chips are down and times are tough, that is when it takes every skill you have – plus some! I have gained more grit, determination, creativity, and mad skills over the past 10 years than all of the preceding decades. My motto for the new decade is Bring It, I’m ready!
Times weren’t just tough in business. It has been a most challenging decade for me personally. While adjusting to the demands of motherhood, I was also adding elder-care to my list of responsibilities taking care of my parents as their health started failing. It has been a time of great loss, starting with both of my grandmothers within a 4 month period of each other, followed by both parents in consecutive years, and other beloved family members who left us too soon.
It has also been a decade of awakening. I discovered my love of travel, rarely turning down an opportunity to hit the open road to explore and search for the interesting.
I beautified my surroundings, renovating our lovely 1930’s building from roof to floor, or actually to the dirt under the floor. Much of the work I did myself, which was a therapeutic endeavor. I grew up in a multi-generation household of construction workers, so I find the smell of sawdust comforting, although no one in their right mind would let me near a saw. I stick with paint brushes and things not likely to cause dismemberment.
Oddly enough, I found myself teaching graphic design to middle school students and loving it. This is my volunteer gig at St. Mary’s Catholic School. My son attended there since Pre-K and it is a fabulous school. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be doing something like this – and enjoying it.
And I became a farmer. Well, I just own a farm. Keith does all of the farmer stuff. I am not an outdoor person. Hopefully one day we’ll be able to live on the farm. That’s my goal.
Just this past year alone has brought huge changes.
Mason is now attending Casady School in Oklahoma City. This was a last minute decision this summer. He is a high achiever, and wanted opportunities offered in a larger school setting. I thought we had 2 more years to make this decision, but our plans suddenly changed. Fortunately there is a bus stop in Edmond we catch most days, but it still has me on the road back and forth every day. He is thriving there, so the hours spent in the car are totally worth it.
We transitioned into a Rowan Flagship Store, completely revamped our website, point of sale software system, accounting software, and the list goes on. Major changes and adjustments!
Last Christmas I received a most unwelcome surprise – hot flashes! Between the effects of this miserable change of life, and breaking my foot in May all of the weight I lost last year has come back. The side effects that accompany this change have been building throughout the year, and I can now hear my mother in my ear telling me to go and get myself some hormones. I KNOW this is what she would say, and plan on following her advice after the holidays. Perhaps this will improve my comportment.
I now live in my car. Between driving Mason back and forth to town for school, swim practice, and swim meets I spend more time driving than I do sleeping most days.
For Christmas this year, I treated myself to a NEW CAR! If you’re feeling guilty about splurging on something for yourself when you’re supposed to be buying gifts for others, keep this in mind. If anyone says anything, just point out that Keely bought herself a new CAR and that handbag, yarn, etc. that you brought home for yourself will seem rather trivial.
I would like to help you splurge on yourself this holiday season. Today I’m giving away a $75 gift card to one lucky reader. Here is what I want to know: if you could sum up the last decade in a few words, what would it be? And what is your mantra for moving forward into the new decade? Leave a comment on this post answering these burning questions to get your name in the hat for the drawing.
You have until midnight tonight!
congratulations clarissa coble – you’re the winner of the $75 gift card!
Please note that all prizes must be picked up at our shop no later than February 1, 2020. We do not mail or ship prizes.