Simplification: Part 2

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A year ago, I shared that we made the decision to close our small business.  What I didn’t get into is how very, very hard that decision was.

We bought that business when Scorch was 5 months old. It was a huge leap of faith and one we made convinced that doing so would only improve our lives.  I remember the three of us driving around after we signed all the papers looking at some of the fanciest homes in town wondering how long it would take us to make enough money to afford one. Surely not more then 4 or 5 years until the only job the Hubs had to work was one that he loved, one where he set his own hours, that one that was his true passion.

And for the first 2 years, life was great.  Our business wasn’t making us rich, but it was doing well and we loved running it. Every dime we made, we put back into it upgrading equipment and making cosmetic repairs. We’d spend weekends there cleaning or making improvements with Scorch, and then the Bean, in the pack n play watching us dance around as we painted the walls or steam cleaned the carpets.  It wasn’t fancy- but it was ours and we were determined to make it work.

But then things got hard. The economy crashed and our clientele dried up as most people didn’t have $100+ per week to spend on our services any more. Local businesses who sent their employees to us went bankrupt.  With two little kids at home, I didn’t have the time to devote to the business, so the Hubs was picking up all the slack.  The hours there weren’t fun any more- they were desperate as we tried to keep things going.  We had 2 full time and 3 part time people working there that depended on us- we couldn’t fail.

The stress invaded every single aspect of our lives.  Weekends that used to include family time now included the kids and I at home alone while the Hubs worked his butt off coming up with new ideas, new programs, new anything to keep clients coming in our door so we could make payroll and pay our rent.  We didn’t feel like we could make family trips or even enjoy any time away from home because we were so consumed with how we could make things work.  We were so afraid that if we stepped away for even a moment, that is when disaster would strike. I really thought we were heading for divorce as all we could think about, talk about, surround ourselves with were issues related to the business.

It was a miserable way to live.

Finally a year ago, things came to a head and after trying to make a few last minute desperate changes we came to the realization that our  business wasn’t working any more. After weeks of sleepless night, more tears then I could count and more stress then I ever want to feel again, we closed our doors. I can’t even describe to you the sick feeling in the pits of our stomach when we made that decision. We could barely look at each other- all our hopes and dreams were shattered and all we were left with was the balance of our small business loans and each other.  I didn’t know how we’d pick up the pieces- that time was almost as dark as the hours we spent trying to make it all work.

But here we are- a year later and we’re still standing. I still can’t think of the business without feeling sad and disappointed. But I also feel free.  I feel like our life is ours again. I have a husband who’s home and involved and so very present in our lives- and it’s the biggest blessing.  We’re not walking around on egg shells with each other anymore in fear of setting the other person- a person who’s already on edge- completely off.   There is no feeling of dread and physical sickness when we have to pay our bills wondering how in the hell we’re going to make ends meet.  Yes, we’ve had to tighten our belt over this past year to pay down our loans, but I’ll take that over the way we were living last year any day of the week.

I don’t know why I’m sharing all this now, but I guess with the year anniversary of the closing it’s on my mind a lot. I look around and marvel how much life has changed for the better in this past year and I’m so very, very thankful we decided to simplify.

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