At 10:45pm CST, I requested our dedicated server to be terminated. I’m exhausted – “to the bone” tired.
I’ve been using the end goal of “as soon as I get everything migrated over, I can finally just stop” mentally to keep myself going over the last couple of weeks.
I just finished working and it’s 11:28pm – this is what has been my life for the last (almost) nine years. My dedicated, loyal, give-everything husband in bed – snoring and waiting for me to come join him. Or waiting for weeks for me to finish a project long enough to actually make dinner – and lately to shower or clean the house a little.
My kids, listening to me tell them how “this” client or “this” project was so much more important than the ride to a friend’s house, or football game, or dance practice. And later, they did everything kids will do if left to mature in their own ways – and even those things I rarely look back on with negativity.
All of them encouraged me, was proud of me and cheered me on from the sidelines – and at times, benefited from the proceeds or connections I made networking with our community. But, there were many costs.
For me, I gave everything I had, all the time, for way too many hours than I should have. Maybe that is not a correct statement. I gave everything I was supposed to in order to learn a very important thing – one which God knew I wouldn’t learn otherwise.
But I did give it my all. I gave it my mind, body and soul. It was who I was. I ran it with the utmost ethics and professionalism that I knew how to do. I never cheated anyone. I never lied to them. I took support phone calls in the middle of the night. I taught my clients, sometimes over and over, that I would not hold them hostage. That I would teach them what they needed to know to handle their own aspects of their business.
I learned that if I gave my services away for free, they were largely unappreciated and lost their value. I learned the people who were willing to take things for free, never appreciated the work behind the end result.
I learned the value of the time I gave and the return. I realize now that the greatest return would have been if I had invested more time in my children and husband.
I learned that I was capable of more than the 9th grade education I had. I could rise above the delinquent teenager dropout to become a successful business owner. I learned a skill that was ever-changing, ever-challenging and more than what I ever expected or anticipated. I learned that God had bigger plans than what I could imagine.
I found a way to identify with something – as a person – other than a “wife” or “mother”, as invaluable and honorable as those roles are. I found “me” in all of this.
I like to believe…no, I know, that I became who I wanted to be and chose something I wanted more.
And I’m thankful. I’m also sad. I’ll miss the things I was great at.
I don’t have regrets for closing my business.
I won’t miss the bookkeeping side of this – ever. I won’t miss the snooty, snotty or un-paying customer. I won’t miss the hours of server outages that taxed me of every ounce of patience I could muster, as infrequently as that happened. I won’t miss inputting data into a shopping cart.
What did I, without a doubt, learn from the years of blood, sweat and tears that I put into this?
The thing which is ultimately important is the same old cliché that you always hear: Family is what matters.
Live like you were dying. For me, that doesn’t mean sky diving or bungee jumping.