January 5, 2011.
I am not sure if I am happy or sad to see 2011 come to an end. It has been an amazing year with lots of changes and new experiences, in my personal life and at Jamie's Painting & Design. For most of the year I have tried to keep a positive outlook and stiff upper lip and my sense of humor in order. Not to say some heated discussions, arguments and tears have not found there way into a few of my days, but I am still standing, so all must be good.
I have bragged for years about how good change is, how I never look back, hate to regret...blah, blah, blah. Truth is change is hard, change is tough, but change is what I think makes us grow. No time in my life has the word change been more appropriate than in 2011. I may not have totally embraced all of the changes of 2011, I do remember them:
Downsizing to Success
Five years ago when we moved the business out of my home and into a new location I was beyond stressed to the point of getting sick, heart palpations and my weight below 100 pounds. The unknown and the employees that were not making the move with us was a lot for me to handle. Moving the business this time....was much easier.
The stress of paying for all the warehouse and office space was a huge stresser for me. The fact is that rental space in Northern California (Recession or not) is extremly high and hard on this small business. Small is the new big these days and I enjoyed it. I missed seeing my employees as much as I used to, but I learned to use the phone, email and the dreaded texting to communicate. I also learned the working from home and staying in your robe and slippers during a bad winter storm can be pretty fantastic.
House for Sale Became House Sold
We sold our first home in 2001 right at the time that the market in the Bay Area became saturated with home sales and the dot com bubble was a popping. We had to lower our asking price, all of this was going on while my sister was getting married, and we had to deal with a probate sale....again, stress and the dreaded losing of weight. Selling our home this time was stressful yes......but much easier.
I honestly never thought we would leave our house, I was thinking I would die in that house. I still wake up every once in awhile looking around my room and singing a verse from Talking Heads song, Once in a Lifetime; You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife and you may ask yourself, well how did I get here? As much as I complained about the parts of the home I thought needed fixing or were not perfect, I did love my last home. Seeing pictures now allows me to see it for what it was and how others might have percieved my home.
And for the second time in 2011we moved the business again, this time half of it came with us 2 1/2 hours away and the other parts stayed in the Bay Area. Not the best situation to have manufacturing and shipping separate - but it worked. Leaner and meaner I say, or I just accepted it and moved on. Getting the new studio situated and decorated here has been.....challenging. Moving a home was one thing, moving a business at the same time was tough.
We Moved to Far, Far & Away
The farthest move I ever did was a junior in college to the SJSU dorms. A mere 45 minutes away is not what I would call really living far away from home. Heck, I came home every weekend for a good meal and to wash clothes. This last move made it a little harder to run home for some comfort food.
Okay so 2.5 hours away and a new zip code is not that far away, but it might has well have been. It felt like we moved to a different planet as far as I was concerned. Just navigating myself out of our neighborhood was a challenge. Finding new doctors, dentists, a vet, all exhausting excursions for this gal. I hate to admit it, but I did take a few dips into my own pity party pool this past fall. I am done with that though and am not going swimming for a long time.
Made New Friends But Ket the Old
I was an old kindergartner, having been born right at the cut off I was almost six when I started, and I was ready for school. The first day of school I marched up to a tall girl with a pageboy hair cut and a dress and said, "Do you want to be my friend?" Luckily she said yes, and even if we don't see each other as often, we are still friends. I wish making friends this time around was that easy.
I made some great friends and look forward to making more. However, my olden-golden friends have gotten me through some super tough times and I will NEVER forget them. I tried my damn-dest to keep in touch with all of them in 2011 and see them as much as possible. I read a study last year that talked about what made men and women live longer. For a man it said to get married, for a woman - have lots of friends. Ya, I got that.
Raising a Twelve Year Old Boy
I remember twelve years old being one of the worst years of my life. I was a sixth grader and I was miserable. My hairstyle alone brings back horrible memories from that year. I can remember not knowing where I fit in or who I was supposed to be or act like. I was not a cool stoner that smoked cigarettes in the girl's bathroom, wore a leather jacket and kissed boys. I was tiny, bookish and very uncomfortable in my own skin. I try and remember this when dealing with my own twelve year old.
Oh.My.Gawd...the changes we have had to deal with. My sweet, soft spoken well read almost always polite son has changed. He is a surley, back talking, eye rolling, video game playing skinny jean wearing stinky BOY. The best part was when I was talking to my mother on the phone about how bad his back talking was and I claimed to NEVER recall acting like that. She laughed so hard she dropped the phone and had to be practically revived to finish our conversation.
Typing texting and Carpel Tunnel....Oh my!
I had that dull ache in both of my wrists for the second half of 2011 . I used my hands to type, to paint, to to ribbon, to move boxes, to gift wrap, cooking....you name it, I was using my wrists. I don't ever remember having my wrists hurt so bad for so long. I had to totally change my work habits, my work days and the way I work. I was even put on "Don't Use Your Wrists" lock down by my husband (he even made me get off Facebook).
2011 Gone but Not Forgotten
So there you go 2011 is over. It was not as exciting or eventful as some years, but it will go down as a very memorable one. One year that had some pretty huge life changes for me. I am sure it won't be the last time my world is turned upside down, but I am hoping 2012 will be calmer and more stable. Considering we rang in the new year with old friends and new friends and laughter I am most positive 2012 will be good!