Hope all is well. I’m spending my early Saturday evening slurping soup from last night, the flavours intensified after chilling over night. As I stare out my window, the downtown cityscape quiets down, the darkness sets in, the streetlights turn on. It’s been a strange week; some might even say difficult, but tonight, I feel settled.
The last couple months have required a lot of growth, and fast. Around October after some changes unfolded in my life, I was left questioning whether I would stay in this city I’ve started to call home. My busy season had ended with the business, a couple chapters closed, and I was left alone in a place where I had no family, and knew a handful of people. I could go back to Calgary for the familiar comforts of family and puppy cuddles, I could run away from my problems, or I could stay and continue to build a life I’d been working so hard for since I came to Edmonton.
I stayed. I always hear this cliche bullshit about how things don’t always turn out how we planned. How “everything is meant to happen for a reason.” And when I think about it actually, I still call bullshit. I don’t believe in fate. I’ve never believed in *the planets aligning*, or there ever being a right or wrong time, soul mates, any of it. But I do believe that when life offers challenges, it presents an opportunity to give in, or give your all.
When I wrote my business plan for Blue Rose, I knew that I would do well until about Christmas time. Despite all of the personal challenges I’ve been slowly stomping on, I had a brilliant time from June to December. The holidays were beautiful, and so many of my friends and customers showed their support in a way that I was overwhelmed. I spent 5 or 6 days in the kitchen and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I didn’t get a day off until Christmas eve, when I drove down to Calgary for three days to spend some time with my family and get in some puppy snuggles.
Then January came. I can honestly say this has been the slowest fucking month of my life. That I’ve ever experienced. The holiday cheer died down, and I kicked off the new year in my empty apartment, cleaning up remnants of gift wrap and polishing off the last of my nanaimo bar stash for breakfast alongside a pitcher of sangria. Clearly starting off the year with good habits. 😉
Suddenly, my inbox was a little quieter. Less folks wanted to indulge in treats after the holidays. My cafe wholesale clients were a little slower too after the holidays, and my books were mostly caught up. I am normally comfortable with silence, but this was driving me up the wall a little bit. But when you run a business, the responsibilities and bills keep coming, even if you’re making a few less cupcakes a week. So I did what I perhaps should have prepared to do all along, and I’ve taken a grown-up job.
I should clarify. For the next few months, I will be working on average about 40 hours a week, plus still running my business. Eventually, I will revert back to part time status when the season picks back up, and I’m ready. Things will be busy and intense for awhile. But I’m doing what I have to do. I’ve recently dispelled the belief that I’m an indecisive person, so I know this is the right choice for me. However, I’ve been almost embarrassed to admit that, like the rest of my friends, I also appreciate the security of having employment. I love being an entrepreneur. I don’t consider myself any less of an entrepreneur. But to continue on into the slow season without any sense of security would have been reckless, and I’m not a reckless person. This article by local marketing hippie Tad Hargrave helped a lot to remove some of the fears I’ve had.
Between this and Blue Rose, I don’t know the next time I’ll have a true day off. However, this means a lot more quiet nights in, to prepare for the early mornings. And, spending time in the kitchen has always been my favourite way to bring myself back down to earth. Spending time baking cupcakes for commercial clients is one thing, but simmering dinner on the stovetop while listening to my favourite jams is an entire different experience and something I’ve been missing out on lately. I hope this means a lot more time for developing The Cozy Vegan, and bringing my content amounts back to where they were for some time. For awhile, I was operating mostly from a place of fear, and baking to pay the bills, cover the next set of ingredients, making sure my customers were happy. I’m hoping that taking back the space I need to support myself and my business will mean more time to bring the passion back into what I do.
This week, I worked hard, and then spent my Friday in the kitchen baking some London Fog, Chai Latte, and Chocolate Fudge cupcakes for some local cafes. I also put together a chocolate birthday cake for a regular customer. It was such an amazing time. I wore my late grandmother’s apron, and listened to some of my favourite tunes from Junior High and High School when I was a fledgling baketivist, and I chilled the fuck out. I haven’t felt that happy in a long time. I did my deliveries, then ran into some friends and had a glorious walk along the high level bridge, then went back home to share some soup and play ukulele all night.
Again, I don’t believe in fate, but I believe in making the most out of any situation. I believe in resilience, and keeping your head up, and self care. I never pictured myself being in Edmonton, and certainly not on my own. But here I am, learning the eb and flow of small business ownership. Not being afraid to take a step back to take care of myself. I have my own cozy apartment here that I’ve worked hard for, which slowly becomes home with each new picture I hang, each time I fill the walls with the sound of my favourite records, each time friends gather to laugh over a pot of soup, a Netflix binge, some wine after a long ass day. I know there will be rough days, and exhausting weeks and months ahead, but finally, I feel ready. I feel settled. And I feel excited to truly take time to share again. Sorry for the absence of recipes in this entry, but I would love to hear how everybody else’s 2015 is going so far.