What do you do when all you hear is "NO".
I decided this morning that I could never be an actress. Partly because I can’t act, but mostly because I have learned that there are only so many “No’s” that I can hear before I begin to get cloudy and dejected.
About 4 months ago, I gave my wonderful boss my notice and said goodbye to my desk in Corporate America forever. A new adventure was on the horizon-one I had wanted since I was a little girl. Back then, I would steal all the “money” from various games around our home and play store with my best friend for hours.
My husband and I had made an offer on a huge antique mall in our hometown and the fun was just beginning. We soon learned, however, that this particular building was not a sound investment so we made an offer on a different building that was actually a better location. Sixty days later (and lots of dreaming about new paint here and this antique desk there) we got the appraisal back. $100k less than his asking price. We were actually quite surprised.
And even more surprised to learn that he wasn’t willing to negotiate.
I have since wandered through cool old buildings that if I had a million dollars, I could make glorious. Weird creepy buildings where when I asked what they did there, I was told “one legitimate thing and two things that we are not allowed to talk about”. I have looked behind boarded-up windows and seen newer modern buildings that just made me feel “blah”.
We have made offers and been refused offers.
Recently my husband suggested that we rent while we waited for the perfect building. I wasn’t open to the idea at first but begin to come around. I came around so much in fact, that we looked at a building on Saturday and called the owner Monday morning to ask “When can we sign the dotted line?”
Do you want to know his reply? Are you ready for this? Because I am not.
“Sweetheart”, he is a grandpa type so he could get away with it. “Sweetheart, my wife and I decided we no longer want to rent for right now”.
Silence-for probably 30 whole seconds while I digested this information.
When I finally responded, I know I sounded like a whiny teenager who had asked to borrow the car, but I couldn’t help it.
“I don’t understand. You just showed it to us 2 days ago. It is a downtown commercial building that has sat empty with a “for rent” sign in it for like a year! You no longer want to rent?”
At this point, I was starting to get accustomed to “No’s”, but this was a weird “No.” I was struggling to wrap my head around it. I mean, I left my career for this. To be told NO over and over again?!
Hours later, I found myself curled up in my favorite chair with a cup of tea, asking myself this question….”What do you do when all you hear is NO?”
What do you do? I don’t have the answers yet, and I wish I did. But I have learned a few things along this "No, journey".
*I need to give myself grace and space to feel what I feel- Disappointment. Frustration. Unsure.
I start each day with a renewed sense of vigor. I am confident and excited. I tackle my morning to-do's with purpose. By 10:30 each day, I am blue. I begin to feel as though I am perhaps heading down a path that is non-existent. Or is possibly someone else's path, but maybe not mine. Once upon a time, I would pin my best cheerleader smile and attitude on and proclaim things like "everything happens in due time." "Good things come to those who wait". Blah, blah, blah. And while deep down, I really do believe those truths, I have learned to be more real about how I feel in the moment. With each new No, I am disappointed. I am frustrated. I am unsure.
*Only I can make or remake my life.
Shauna Niequist is my most favorite author. And this is one of her beautiful, incredible truths. And while this might seem to contradict what I just said, it doesn't. Yes, I have learned to give my self grace and space for feelings, but they don't rule me. They are just feelings-not truths. Only I can have the life I want. And I KNOW the life I want. I want a sweet little store, filled with unique, re-purposed items that make me smile. I want the old restored dresser, placed in the corner to be over-flowing with hand-crafted items made by local artists. I want it to smell like spring all the time with fresh flowers everywhere. I want to serve and love every customer who walks through the old, chippy doors. I want to create an oh, so lovely experience. And when there is a slow moment, I want to sneak to the back office to kiss my husband who is steadily working hard at his own business.
*The grass isn’t greener on the other side. It’s greenest where you water it.
I don't always feel like watering. And with each new "NO" I can sometimes feel that watering is pointless. Why go connect with local creators and dream together, when there are no shelves yet to display their creations. Why keep renewing my retail license? Why? Why do any of it?
Perhaps because of the wisdom of sweet Shauna, that only I can make my life. This is the life I want. And until I hear a clear "NO" from the only voice that matters, I will keep watering the grass.
But every now and then, when the “NO’s” get to be too much, I will curl up in my chair, with a pint of Love Potion ice-cream and cry.
Then, when the tears have dried up, I will get up and go turn on the sprinklers.