Saturday, October 03, 2009
Remember when I showed you this picture last week? Well, probably three years ago the owners held a yard sale with stuff both inside and out. Of course, Tom and I were thrilled to be able to finally step inside this old cobblestone place--we'd driven past it often during the previous thirteen (or so) years. It had been a bar and rooming house for most of those years, empty for a few, then the new owners turned it into an antique shop and bed-and-breakfast.
Well, we stepped inside and in between the wall and stairs was a trail of antiques and junk for sale. Now, the stairs were roped off for the B&B guests only and what we could glimpse of the upstairs appeared lovely. But we had to pick our way past boxes and furniture for sale to the back deck which was crammed with more boxes, knick-knacks and antiques as well as the tables and chairs which guests normally used there on the deck. Soon I stepped into the antique shop which was dark like a cave and so full of antiques and display cases that only one person at a time could fit in any 'aisle'. Not much time passed before I went back out and whispered to Tom, "I'll wait for you on the front steps--I'm too overwhelmed by all this stuff!"
So I sat outside on the sunny front steps and stared at all the black-eyed Susans and Shasta daisies which sagged across the sidewalk and sorely needed to be deadheaded. The potential for a lovely perennial garden was there, but otherwise, all was sad and screamed of neglect.
Well, I just sat there and fumed. Yes, fumed because for the last forever Tom and I had dreamed of having a bed-and-breakfast inn and here these people owned a perfect place for one and yet they were doing it all wrong. Clutter was everywhere downstairs and in the yard, and those poor flowers were neglected, and if you're going to have a yard sale while you have guests (they did have guests--I saw them walk up the stairs inside) why would you sell the stuff in the skinny front hall, creating a traffic jam for everyone?
So there I sat in the sun waiting for Tom, muttering thoughts like, "If I had a bed-and-breakfast, my oh my, I'd run it a whole lot better than this one!" Then when Tom came out and we drove away I bantered on and on about all the things the owners were doing wrong--and how things would be totally different if I were in charge of that place.
Gulp. Since moving to this farm of ours I have repented of those harsh thoughts of mine three-million times.
Now I so understand. I understand how nearly impossible it is to have painted and wallpapered rooms and a mowed yard and deadheaded flowers (and laundry done, meals on the table and the birds fed outside) all at the same time. And I'm not even running a B&B! And if you'd asked me the first year the one word which describes how I felt it would have been overwhelmed. And yet those new owners of that B&B looked older than Tom and me, they and what appeared to be their business partners. Just being 52 and 50 on acreage in an old farmhouse for the first time, just the two of us, learning myriad unforseen lessons, has proven an incredible stretch of all that is within us.
The sad thing? That building in the photo, above, is again for sale. The B&B did not last more than 2 years or so. And I get that, too. I now realize how sometimes you must 'step out and find out' so that you won't spend your years wondering, "What if we had _____?" and kicking yourself because you never got out of the boat to try walking on water. Yet sometimes when you do take that leap, you realize--mostly--you were more in love with the thought of having that thing, rather than having or doing the thing, yourself. Or, you discovered you loved it, but it required more of you than you were willing to give. Or a host of other revelations.
But at least now you know. And you can continue down the road of Life better informed about who you really are, what you really want--and no longer kicking yourself for chances never taken, for you were brave enough to crawl out of the boat.
"Judge not lest ye be judged." .................
Never assume you'd be great at anything you've never even tried. Technically, that's called pride.