Major Life Changes: It All Started With…
The past seven to ten days have been fraught with fundamental changes in my daily life, and I feel like I am on the verge of something amazing.
It all started with the realization that I have hung on to too many things from my past, and it was time for it to go: old papers, items that were useful in lines of work i no longer pursued, lights, clips, serving pieces, labeling things, etc., from our former gallery, gardening & maintenance tools from our former home, clothing from weight-swing and frequent socializing days, masses of nice but truly useless items given to me by friends and relatives, and on and on. There’s a couple of drawers and shelves in the kitchen that still need work, and three small boxes of papers requiring shredding (the most boring job on earth), and some furniture awaiting it’s relocation in a couple of weeks to my son’s new house, but for the most part the decluttering is done, and can now coast on autopilot.
But that’s the peculiar aspect of letting go of stuff and clutter on a personal level: it changes you intellectually and emotionally. You open your eyes to the story of your life as contained in what you’ve owned, what you’ve let go of, and what you’ve chosen to keep. And in turn you think about that life story and where you want it to go next. In my own case, and from what I’ve read of others’ experience with this, it doesn’t lead to anger or regret or leaving your spouse or anything crazy, but it does lead to an amazing clarity about yourself. Of course that in turn might make your spouse leave you or drive others around you crazy (haven’t come across any stories of that, though) it might make you change your social life as a result of clarifying your priorities. In my case it made me rethink my working life.
The great lightening of spirit which came with the lightening of space and possessions had a downside, which was making 55 feel a lot older than I expected it would when I was younger. There was so much stuff and history that went out the door, it made me realize that there’s far less time left in my life than what I’ve already lived. I’m not the healthiest cookie, either, which compounds the matter.
It made me look at my working life and realize I had a unique opportunity to learn a new way of earning a living, one that wouldn’t kill me physically like my previous or current line of work (I’ve been a professional landscape designer and gardener, a gallery owner, and a baker/caterer). The cookery has gotten to the point where I am a victim of my own success: the demand for my goods is outpacing my ability to deliver them, at least in the manner the customers want them. I am faced with two choices: to expand the cookery and take on employees (and many many expenses and headaches), or to step back and find a way of keeping the business to a scale I can manage on my own (with the resulting abysmal income level). These were the two choices I could make given my limited understanding of business models. But my son made some suggestions about online work which in turn caused me to do a little research and discover the concept of a minimalist business: no brick and mortar, no employees, no physical demands beyond what I can reasonably handle. It would still need a lot of work, a lot of persistence, and it might not work out, but then again I am faced with the likelihood of a bad ending if I stick with the current model.
I am participating in both Chris Guillebeau’s Empire Building Kit and Leo Babauta’s A-List Blogger Club Bootcamp, plus subscribed to many blogs and newsletters about minimalist business, blogging business, and downloaded many ebooks about, well, writing ebooks. It’s a crash course in a new business model that is a bit like discovering new worlds. I feel like 55 going on 35, at least in my brain. maybe a confused 35, but it is a real kick. I mean, it is even starting to make sense. I am glad that my husband and son are there to help me with their various technical expertise, or it could be overwhelming.
Anyway (I know this post is too long, but I do not care), this is the week that I am wrapping up everything but my one signature item in the cookery. There will be no more slaving over hot stoves and ovens and three part sinks full of steaming water. I have developed a way for my cinnamon buns to be frozen & ready-to-bake and will market those as soon as I figure out the packaging logistics. That will bring in a little income as I develop my cooking/lifestyle blog and e-cookbooks/videos.
It’s been a hard week, as the final orders for quiches and casseroles were doubled and it has been hard for me to follow the online workshops. But I have started to learn how to make videos as I cook and will soon be posting them to YouTube in conjunction with the recipe and blog post. My main website/blog is undergoing a redesign to incorporate my areas of expertise. I am blogging about the process of making my cookbook, as well, so the site will be not only about cooking, but about writing, about the life.
There are three more days of intense labor in the cookery, after which I will have to rest for a few days. Soon after that, however, the great minimalist business project begins in earnest–and all as a result of what my husband called “having a cleanout.” =;D
Check out my other blog: Minimalist Cooking