I love Christmas, I really do. I like all the decorations, adore the music, definitely get into the gift-giving spirit - so that's not really my issue.
I'm just in one of those seasons where the store, and all it entails, is really starting to wear on me.
I honestly believe that EVERYONE, regardless of their job or position in life, goes through these types of seasons, where everything they're doing and all the activities of every day add up to one seemingly pointless total. And we all look at someone else's life; someone else's job, and think "oh, if ONLY I could be doing that. That would be SO MUCH BETTER." And then that person, the one doing THAT, they are looking at you and thinking the same exact thing.
What I'm saying is that I know this is normal (at least it better be), and so I'm not like, rushing out to fire-sale the store or anything. I am just going through one of those times where every little thing I have to do regarding the store seems like a big, annoying task - and there are a LOT of "big annoying tasks" for the store this time of year. Even when I have a day off, it never feels like one at all. I'm either filling out some form (for the store), going to some event (for the store), spending hours trying to book a cheap plane ticket to market (for the store), updating mailing lists and working on a direct mailer (for the store), etc. You get my drift. And even when I push all that aside, telling myself it can wait 'til tomorrow, nothing will fall apart overnight (a stress-management technique I had to employ after I spent nearly every waking hour of my first year of ownership AT the store), I have to deal with the phone calls from vendors, telling me that I owe them money.
Yeah, because that's the new and exciting thing that's been happening ever since our economy took a nosedive. Companies who are hurting just as badly as I am are going through invoices from YEARS back, literally, and calling on them. Aggressively calling on them. And the lady who owned the store before I did, when it was a whole different entity, basically - well, apparently she didn't pay some bills. And now the companies are after their cash, and while I can't blame them, really - I mean I am as desperate as anyone these days - they really don't seem to get the concept of "SHE DOESN'T OWN THIS STORE ANYMORE, AND WE HAVE NEVER HEARD OF YOU".
Not to say that I don't owe anyone money. Because I do. Oh, I do. I am constantly robbing Peter to pay Paul, and sometimes when I get called on an overdue invoice, or something from three years ago that everyone, including me, forgot about until just now - I have to tell them "sorry, I don't got it". And Internet, let me tell you - I'm not a "sorry, I don't got it" kind of girl. Well, I WASN'T, anyway. But it's the truth, and at this point, on a lot of things, the truth is the best I can do.
Two of the stores in my center went out of business in the past two months. Things are not getting much better. And the RIDICULOUSLY SHORT-SIGHTED MEDIA keeps on and on with their doom-and-gloom, predicting that 2009 will be the "weakest economic year in recent history", whatever THAT means (how recent? how weak? what's your definition of weak? oh, to answer all of that wouldn't be NEARLY as sensationalist, would it?). And the general population, your average Joe who just watches the evening news over dinner, hears the media blathering endlessly about how the economy is falling apart, and he decides that he better pull the purse strings a little tighter. No more frivolous purchasing! He's putting his wife on a budget! And with that, there goes my $200 per month interaction with average Joe's wife. And if enough average Joe's make that identical decision, well, $200 x 1500 adds up REAL fast.
So when I see a mom pulling her stroller out of the trunk in the middle of the day to kill some time out of the house, I miss the dark circles under her eyes and the look of desperation on her face. I only see the immense appeal of focusing on ONE task instead of ten million. Raise your child, keep your house decent. If you don't have a house-cleaner to do that second one for you, that is. If your kid has a bad day, no one's gonna lose their job. You aren't going to file bankruptcy if you can't get potty training down in three months. And I know - of course that's an unfair comparison - I not only have no idea what all goes into being a stay-at-home mom, I honestly don't even WANT to do it right now - I know it's a super hard job, and when (if) I ever do it, I'm sure I will look back on my store-owner days and think OH MY GOSH, WHAT WAS I COMPLAINING ABOUT?
But maybe I won't.
And the former scoffing I've done at 9-5 desk jobs, with all their boring monotony and personality-killing sameness - that now looks like blissful regularity, beautiful certainty. I would go home at 5pm, maybe stop at the grocery store for dinner supplies, and NOT THINK ABOUT MY JOB ANYMORE UNTIL THE NEXT DAY. Oh, and I'd also be getting a paycheck, which would be awesome. And I know, I know - I get to have a super flexible schedule and fly to LA all the time, and I'm on like, the MOST INCREDIBLE concert-seeing streak ever - so again, if I was, say, working in a bank or accounting office somewhere, I might be wringing my hands over what I gave up.
But maybe I wouldn't.
The best thing to do when I'm feeling this way seems to be to remember that the store is NOT my life. So if things at the store aren't going well, I don't need to extrapolate that over my entire life and have this all-consuming cloud of guilt and failure hovering over my every moment. The store is NOT my life; the store is one aspect of my life, and if I am doing my best at the store, and doing everything I know how to do, then whatever happens, happens. I have to be okay with that. And most of the time, truthfully, I am.
But sometimes I'm not.
Thank goodness I'm only 27.