These last few weeks have been the proverbial roller coaster. Threw out my back--twice. Expanded my florist customers. Got through the late spring deluge. Tried a new market--and sorta bombed it. Got the biggest weddings out of the way--with success. Got away for a long weekend. Worked now 12 days straight. Collaborated on an incredibly beautiful first photo shoot. And more.
Here's a confession: when I am out in my fields, amongst the flowers, working and sweating and running about I am certain, in my bones sure, that I am supposed to continue farming flowers. When I create a flower arrangement that in the arms of my friend modeling brings tears to my eyes, I believe I am an artist. When I sell out of all my flowers to smiling customers or deliver buckets to appreciative florists, I know I am becoming a better business woman.
But as quick as you flip a switch, it can be over and I feel crushed by doubt, worry, stress, and end up questioning that this is the direction I should continue to take.
I wasn't always this way. I have a curious mind and I was unafraid of trying new ideas for size and either keeping or discarding them or failing at them. "I ride by the seat of my pants," was a familiar phrase to me. Yes, I felt stress. Yes, I felt doubt. But I didn't become crippled from it.
Lately I have. And really I have been for the last 3 years.
Something happened, which I believe happens to many young adults as they leave university. In school, there is a space and support for your ideas. Yes you have to work at them, defend them, honor them, but the energy is there in the university system.
The "real world", I have discovered, is more fickle. And being a recent grad with a lot of good ideas, but not a lot of experience I believe isn't really being valued by our economy. I have watched countless friends labor to bring their ideas and energy forward--and either find little interest, support, and a great deal of stress--and not many jobs. And then there's money. Let's not even get into that. Although its the elephant in the room.
I've watched friends succeed and fail. And be very very stressed. Like me.
Farming in particular, I should share, has an array of stresses beyond the norm. Market prices, yes. Possibly of injury, yes. Oh and how about climate change. Regular irregular weather patterns weren't enough. West coast drought. East coast flood. And so many extreme weather conditions besides.
So I often contemplate another life, one where I don't farm. Where maybe I work in an office. Maybe I'll better utilize my degrees. I get as steady a paycheck that any 20 something can hope to achieve.
And truthfully, I am researching and pursuing additional ideas. Back up plans, something I can cultivate on the side and turn to perhaps later on down the road. I am still figuring out the viability of these ideas.
When I hurt my back the second time, I laid on the floor and cried. I thought, this really could be it. The story I'll tell that ended my farming days. I felt a light go out inside me. I was not ready to end this yet.
Two weeks ago, my two best friends told me they were sending me something. They reminded me that I may not see my little flower business as a big deal, but they did. They were sending me a vote of confidence. It arrived today.
It is a small thing but a tangible thing. Wood, rubber, ink. It isn't a flower that fades and decays. It isn't a website full of words trailing away. I wanted to order a rubber stamp for myself, a ways back, but didn't. What would I do with it if my business changed or I full out quit? There was something real about it that I shied away from.
Now I have it in my hands. A little something for me to hold onto and confidence to carry me through.
My friends, you give a great gift.