Five years have gone by. It's been a ride. We will celebrate many things this week. Five years of successful existence - five years of students, demos, events, glass art, commissions, special requests, apprentices, and so much more.....five years is a long time and goes by very fast, and we do feel extremely successful in many ways. But what exactly does the word "success" mean in the world of entrepreneurship, non-profits, social enterprises? Success comes in many forms, many flavors, many shades - it's very hard to see what success really looks like unless you are living it every day and can see it clearly through your own experience.
The last two months were terrible. We lit up the furnace on the 28th of August, my birthday to be exact. We found out after a few days that there was something terribly wrong in our system. The gas shut off and safety system were not behaving, it felt as if gremlins had invaded and repopulated inside our pipes and weren't going to leave anytime soon. We think we know what caused the problem, a power outage a while back, and we are very lucky that all is now ok and we are back in business.
However it didn't necessarily feel that it would be ok. I spent almost 6 weeks wondering IF it would be fixed, not necessarily just when. Licensed professionals couldn't figure it out. Numerous stressful moments and a lot of stressful bills. Sometimes it felt like a twilight zone, too many things were going wrong at once, and it didn't seem normal.
But here we are, the furnace is back on, and we have been working and teaching workshops for about two weeks now. Things feel almost normal again, and the sting from the last couple months is starting to wear off. We are having our birthday party next Saturday as planned, albeit a simple and pretty mellow event considering we weren't sure we could even have a party. We have managed to get through the hardest time in five years, intact, with our energy focused and on the future.
If you asked me how things were going in August, I had a naive and overly positive view. September I was somber and depressed. October I was cautiously optimistic. November I am simply here. That's entrepreneurship in a nutshell really - don't get too comfortable, and don't get too down. It's a ride, take it, hold on tight, and don't get off unless you are ready to be done forever. You'll get used to it, and eventually, as the dips and the highs get more normal, you find that they are just getting you ready for the bigger ride.