In another lifetime (or was it just last February?), a small restaurant, in a mountain town in Idaho, fire crackling in the corner, dishes clinking, a waitress squeezing between chairs to serve food. Chatter bouncing off every wall, talking over each other, lingering too long. A girl’s lunch, sharing our aspirations. Our oldest child was a freshman in college, and I knew that the next 4.5 years would fly by with our middle daughter and youngest son both in High School. I also knew that I questioned continuing to work on Merin Designs, a business that I started eleven years ago, designing and manufacturing large, heavy-duty cotton canvas tote bags in vibrant colors. I wasn’t’ quite ready to throw in the towel on Merin Designs but I couldn’t shake the feeling there was more. I felt so much stress over what I loved most, what classes to take, what was my calling? As I explained my intense feeling of indecision split between all things food, style and design, and passion for clean beauty, a friend looked at me and said, “I don’t’ think you have to choose.”
Impossible. Of course I have to choose.
Within three weeks, the world as we knew it would come to a steel against steel, moaning, stop. We hunkered down. Hours listening to books, podcasts and walking…searching for purpose. Keep grocery shopping. Make breakfast. Clean up. Make lunch. Clean up. Make dinner. Clean up. All the while, a little voice continued to remind me of the conversation over lunch, and my search for a new calling. How do I possibly combine all the things I love? How do I decide what to focus on? There must be precise instructions on how to jump off the proverbial “cliff of safety” so that you don’t smash into the valley floor. I’m not brave enough.
“Waiting until you can do it perfectly, will only keep you waiting forever.” – Sarah Adler (Simply Real Health)
Today, I’m still not brave enough, but at some point in August, I sat down and remembered that I enjoyed writing, that I already had an audience through Merin Designs and I started typing. All sorts of thoughts came out…yuck, not ready. What was I thinking? It stared at me for a month, left open on my laptop until one day, I opened a new word document and my thoughts and words flowed. I wrote about books I was reading, podcasts I listened to, food I cooked and clean make-up I used. A small, scraggly fire was lit, struggling for oxygen but burning. I pressed send to all of my Merin Designs subscribers, explaining that they could unsubscribe if they didn’t like my musings. Within a couple of days, I heard from people, with questions and thoughts on my e-mail, all positive and unsolicited. This was all I needed. I would try again the next week.
At the same time, I gathered courage to sign-up for an Instagram course that a friend recommended. I am terrible at social media. The only way out of being terrible at something is to practice and push, one tiny step at a time. I am 48 and soon I’ll be 80. I am working on finding my authentic voice, by putting myself in front of the camera and consistently posting. Something is better than nothing and my mantra is, just keep moving.
I continue to write each week. Some weeks will be good and some will be less than, but that’s why it’s called practice. This goes for my social media experiment as well. I will continue to sink into the discomfort and practice. If this year has taught us nothing else, it’s to stick with it, even when it’s painful.
What does the future look like? In 2021, I dream of adding interviews, with people I respect and admire because we all have so much to teach one another.
As we begin this New Year, let’s look back on the year as the one that couldn’t bring us down. I have a feeling that many of you had the courage to start something new this past year as well. If you’re still waiting, you may always be waiting. If you start now, anything can happen but I promise it will be good.
Want more Merin? Follow @MerinDesigns on Instagram to receive a sprinkling of things that have piqued my curiosity & opened my mind. I will ALWAYS talk food. You will also receive Clean Beauty Recommendations and hear about my “Find of the week”.