• Dana

...and there it goes.

I think I've made my point on Instagram that the last year has been rough. If you don't follow me, you don't need to to understand it (quarantine, everyone home, everything closed), so I'll spare the details.

I took a leap of faith at the end of 2020. I needed OUT of my house. We were going through a much needed renovation to add some space to our home. "Online learning" was in full force. And then like magic, as I was meeting about a possible collaboration/class, an opportunity presented itself at such an amazing, perfect time. Everything seemed like it was vibing and perfection and I couldn't believe it. It was like a light shining down and telling me, "YES DANA GO DO IT!" So, I did. I signed a lease (even though it was the end of Mercury retrograde) for a collaborative studio space. Finally...I could escape my house and reality.

It was amazing to have a space to run away to. But the most amazing part was curating maker's markets. I was SO excited to bring some maker friends (and some makers I didn't know yet but am friends with now), together to help their businesses in a year that just sucked. The goal of my markets were:

  1. to be Covid safe,

  2. to help makers gain exposure and make a little extra money,

  3. bring the outside community of South Portland (my home!) and surrounding areas together after a long, hard year, and

  4. to showcase the studio space--a work in progress.

Curating and hosting a market was my THING. I loved every minute of it. I posted stories about how much of a dream it was to have a pop-up "store." From putting together the vibe, setting up private shopping appointments, making social media posts, and hosting the markets--I truly had a great time and learned so much. Even in this strange, masked, hand-sanitizing era. There were a few little bumps but I learned what I needed to do to get them fixed. It was an amazing experience overall, and I learned a ton.

Then...the holidays were over. Vibes kinda fizzled. If you're a maker in Maine, I think it's pretty common for things to sloooooow down this time of the year. The holidays are a HUGE rush. Markets are major sources of income (and HELLO, they were almost all cancelled last year). January through May are just cold, gray, and unpredictable in southern Maine (we may have a few 60 degree spring days thrown in there just to tease us). On top of this lovely time of year (January/February) and it's equally shitty weather, Covid cases were rising and at an all-time high. Putting together markets during this time wouldn't be worth the risks...and effort.

To add to this shiny, beautiful reality I'm presenting to you, I was very concerned with some serious health issues my family was sorting through at the beginning of this year. Spending time at the space was less frequent. My kids were home more than ever with the spike in cases in our county. I was on my highest alert ever with the mask wearing and hand washing, so I barely went anywhere to keep myself and my family safe. The only time I could be creative was at night (ugh) and on the weekends. It being a collaborative space, those times weren't always available to me. And those were also my only down time. So...staying inside curled under a blanket was a perfectly reasonable choice to me.

And then, I made the difficult decision to leave. I had a conversation with the owner of the space and laid out all of the things I just wrote about, and she GOT it, 100%. But it still felt like a failure to me. Wasn't this what I wanted? I can spend my time on the things that are more important right now. Why aren't I fighting harder to keep it? I don't have to scramble to meet goals and pay rent. I have access to a space at home 100% of the time I need it. BUT I HAD SO MUCH FUN. What is wrong with me?

I guess you could say I have FOMO. I get sad thinking about the opportunities I'm missing out out on. I think a lot about "what if" and "well, if I did it this way..." It's kind of hard to see the space moving on without me. But I know it was the right decision for me and my mental health. I'm not sure I could have made it work right now. Having the space helped me understand what I'm looking for in a business, partners, a schedule, and ultimately--what my #goals are. When one door closes, another opens right?! My schedule is free. I'm saving money. The reno is done (well...almost) so I have SPACE at home to work in. No coordinating schedules (unless you count my kids). And it looks like masks and capacity limits are gonna be a thing for awhile, along with this sad gray weather, so markets and in-person classes (another thing I do!) are tricky anyway.

It still doesn't feel good though.

And every day I realize more...THAT'S OKAY.

It's okay to feel shitty.

It's okay to be sad.

It's okay to let some things go.

There will be bumps.

It's OKAY. Because you know what?

Tomorrow is another day. Get out there and kick ass. Or maybe stay in bed. Do what you need. Feel those feels.

Everyone says things happen for a reason right? Well, "things" don't always have to be happy. Sometimes things happen to help us understand ourselves better. And I think this is one of those times.

So what did I learn?

  1. Business is like a wave. There are ups and downs. Some downs are longer than others. There are crashes too. But eventually it dies down and there's smoother sailing. And it's beautiful.

  2. Don't take too much time ruminating--unfollow people who make you feel less than, do what you need to clear your head, self care is different for everyone. Make decisions that feel right for YOU, and do it unapologetically.

  3. Not everyone and everything is what it seems (especially when you're comparing on social media). I hear a lot about the "universe sending signs" or "the universe aligned." Sometimes I feel like that's true too. But there can be A LOT of other factors playing into it that may not apply to YOU and YOUR situation. Keep your head up, good things are coming :) (remember the waves).

  4. Along that same note, there are a lot of supportive people out there rooting for you! Don't feel bad for making the tough decision to let some things go to help clear space for yourself.

  5. Always be extra cautious during Mercury Retrograde.

Keep it real--


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