Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Lessons :: My Year of Birth and Rebirth, and the Power of Daily Gratitude

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As I sit here on the last day of November with my third cup of black coffee, I can't help but reflect back on this past month, the first month that I chose to host a photo challenge on Instagram. It was a simple thing, really, and I didn't think it would affect my life that much, but it did.

Let's rewind. At the beginning of this year, I got pregnant. I left my job. I started writing full-time. 3 months later, I was out of savings. I got on welfare. I was almost homeless. Brandon and I moved in with his mom. I had the baby. He left his job. We took over his mom's limo business.

Within our first month, we brought in a quarter of what the company made its entire first year and twice as much as what I've earned my entire blogging career. We are finally able to pay off our debts. We are able to work from home and set our own hours. We are able to take turns cooking and cleaning. We are able to spend quality time with each other and with our son. I am able to write without feeling guilty.

I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

Self-employment makes some things easier, and other things harder. There are pros and cons. Most of the cons happen at the beginning, when you're just getting off the ground. You will probably put more money into your business than what you get out of it. You will probably put more time into it than anything else in your life. You will probably struggle with managing both your money and your time. You will have to plan, prepare, and prioritize. And then you will have to adjust your plans and your preparations and your priorities, again and again and again, as you and your career and your life change.

As an entrepreneur, you have no boss. You have no one telling you which areas need growth and what you should do better. You have no one reassuring you that you're making a great effort so far and no one cheering you on, urging you to keep going. All of that needs to come from within -- your motivation, your constructive criticism, your encouragement, your instincts. There are no classes, no training, no books. You need to find those resources yourself, whether it's on a blog or in a bookstore or through prayer.

2014 has been full of messages all wrapped up in painful, challenging packages, but I'm grateful for all of them. I'm glad that I chose to take the time to be grateful, at least once a day, every day in November. I don't think it's a coincidence that my mind was more peaceful, my mood more content, and my life better than ever. I'm so used to reaching for the next dream, that I rarely realize I'm living it -- and that living my dream is a process. It's all about the journey, babe.

My month wasn't perfect, and I wasn't either. I still had stressful days, and cranky moments, and times when I was mad or sad. But that's all part of life. And life looks more beautiful when we concentrate on the beautiful things. We just don't always open our eyes and minds to them.

Fortunately, though, when my baby was born, I was too.

And when he started to see, so did I.

*Photo of Trey and I by Megan Burke. More of him can be found at my mom blog, Baby Loudmouth.
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