Time for a New Chapter?

Community.  Lately I’ve been struggling with balancing the two communities in which I occupy space. I know I’ve written about this before, so obviously I haven’t figured out how to resolve the problem.

Basically, it feels like there’s two versions of me.  There’s shop-me and home-me.  It’s nothing to deep or philosophical.  Both versions of me are pretty much the same – both have food allergies and “regular” allergies, both like the same colors, both know how to drive stick.  But due to location, it often feels like theses two versions of me are in conflict – neither one is ever 100% me.

The town we live in is struggling to regain its identity and become a vibrant community again. It’s got a lot of potential, and there are many things happening that show great promise. Business are slowly moving back in, restaurants and breweries are opening, green spaces are in the works, and beautification projects are springing up. But my business isn’t one of the happening things in this community.

Seven years ago, when I started looking for a larger space for my business, I had difficulty finding a suitable location in my price range. When a space in a unique building, and with a lot of potential in a neighboring town became available, after much thought, it seemed like the right move. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. Maybe I didn’t wait long enough. Maybe I took the easy route.

Honestly, I don’t think my business would have lasted as long as it has had I remained where it was. But there are days when I wonder what it would be like to be part of the revival happening in our town, instead of operating a business in neighboring town.  If we could have found a space closer to home, how much about the business would be different today?

I’m not planning on moving, again. And regret isn’t the word I’m looking for to describe this problem of hindsight. The word I’m looking for eludes me….

But I find myself thinking about this a lot lately. Especially as I see other similar businesses straying closer to my goals than I am able to. That might sound strange, but like many people, I had/have a vision for my business. Lately it feels like many of my goals are slipping away and my vision is getting blurry while I watch as other’s success seems so much more certain than mine, and I flounder to stay afloat.

It doesn’t help that I’m struggling to see myself as part of either community – the one in which I live vs. the one in which I work.  And this makes me feel divided, like there are two of me.  My time and resources are divided. I no longer have the time for volunteer work at organizations in either location. And I can’t support those organizations financially anymore either.

Sure, most would advise me to find a way, after all. where there is a will, there’s a way, right? But that’s just it, I can’t figure out which community I belong to, so the will isn’t there. My nonchalance has left me paralyzed to act.

And that in itself is causing conflict between the two personas.  Nothing major, not like a breakdown or anything, but it is making me wonder if it’s time to move into a different chapter in my life, if it’s time to regroup and recoup.

I’d like to be able to contribute to our household, as little as our household is, as well as the community.  I’d like to travel, see more of the country or the world while I’m still young enough to enjoy it, but old enough to understand how amazing it is and appreciate the opportunity.  Right now I have neither the time, nor the financial resources to do any of this.

I used to find ways to do volunteer work, and I enjoyed it.  I used to have time to cheer on The Goat at his events, but now I’m lucky if I can find time to even attend one of two of them a year.  I used to have a bountiful garden and enjoyed spending time in our yard, now I have to schedule weeding sessions and struggle to stay ahead of the yard work.

There’s just this little nagging voice at the back of my head, like the emotions in that movie “Inside Out”.  Maybe it’s a midlife crisis rearing up, voicing itself through discontent and self doubt, making me question which of the two me’s I want to be.

Usually I can keep quiet this voice by thinking about the people and the friendships I’d lose by closing this chapter of my life.  Let’s face it, every time someone finishes one chapter in their life and starts a new one – moves away, changes jobs, switches school – they lose many of the friendships central to the closed chapter.  Sure, you might stay in touch for a while, and with today’s social media, you might actually stay in touch electronically for years afterwards.  But we all know, that over time, those connections weaken and finally those once close friends are just acquaintances, if you’re lucky.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s what happens, it’s part of life and part of being human. We all have friends that we categorize based on the chapters in our lives; friends from work, friends from a previous job, friends from school, kids from the neighborhood.  But am I willing to willingly give up some of the people in my life right now just because I feel divided in two?  Honestly, I don’t know.

It’s easy to be excited when you know what the changes will bring- like when you’re going to college or starting your “dream job”, you’re excited because you know you’ll meet new and exciting people who will likely become friends.  But when the outcome of the change is hazy, and the change itself hard to describe or grasp, it’s a bit harder to jump into the new situation without worry and trepidation.

Change also brings it’s own set of problems.  A new chapter in ones life brings with it a new set of compromises.  There is always a trade off.  Change brings new routines, new habits, new problems to solve.  Are these trade offs worth it?

While change can be good, change when you’re not sure if you should be changing, makes you question a lot of things.  And that’s where I am.  Questioning.  How do I center these two personas?  Do I even need to do that?  Is it ok to be divided?  Is it time to write a new chapter?  If so, how do I end this one?