It’s been a while since I have written my reflections here. Moving across to this new site has been a big ordeal, but we’re here now, and I would like to pick up where I left off.
Healthy. Healed. Whole. A clean bill of health after recovering my voice, and a business that was thriving. In 1999 I met my husband Alec selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door, and all of these years later, we were still working this industry, now selling vacuum cleaner spare parts online. We had vacuum bags and filters and every spare part you could imagine. They were bursting at the seams of our home garage that doubled as our business warehouse and vacuum repair centre. Small country towns are great for that: Growing home made businesses.
Both of us shared the same goals and priorities. And for as long as we could remember we had both wanted to move to Melbourne. We were drawn to the world’s most liveable city, where we planned to extend our networking connections and make the most of importing opportunities. We were also optimistic about building new relationships with clients who had deeper pockets than our regular customers in Wagga Wagga NSW.
On the Australia day weekend of 2013 we finally managed to make that move. This was life-changing for us for a number of reasons. Firstly, it marked the start of the chapter that had us both working full time for our business. We weren’t flush with cash, but our business needed my pair of full time hands because they were cheap without being nasty to our increasing volume of customers, and to our need for a manager to organise the mess of the filing cabinet that my Entrepreneur husband had made. I very happily left my work in education to join in this business adventure with my husband. Building this operation was certainly not my purpose, but I saw it as a very important stepping stone that we could use strategically to get us from Point A to Point B. The plan was to grow the business to a stage that it ran largely on its own, then move to London to replicate our model there, and then use the passive income from these online businesses to work in community based projects. In this future life, Alec was looking forward to helping entrepreneurs in developing countries, and I was keen to return to the classroom to empower communities through education.
The first year and a half in Melbourne was intense as we navigated our way through the complexities of living and working together full time. As time rolled into the 2014 new year our tenacious commitment had allowed us to achieve a few significant milestones, but we struggled to bring our young business into the black. This is was an incredibly challenging time for us, but in working and living together 24/7 together, neither of us would have had it any other way. The frustration of ongoing debt and goal posts that seemed to be perpetually in motion was overwhelming, for both of us.
Who knows what it feels like to be snowed under?
We were not ok. I was becoming increasingly worn down by working outside of my passion. I was invested in building our business with Alec because I have always had a passion for freedom and empowerment, but, just like those old Godfrey’s Vacuum franchise days, I knew I needed to fulfil my love of words and people and education. By the start of 2014 I felt old and tired, and honestly, I had been begging Alec for a break since 2010, so I was working damn hard at keeping myself afloat, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. I started two reflective journals to nourish myself. My Gratitude Journal app had me taking photos of things I was grateful for every day, and my iPhone Notes started to fill up with observations and insights that I used to encourage myself.
Alec was a picture of stress. He was drinking more and more and had put on a lot of weight and was starting to slacken at the gym. He was also on some pretty serious medication for anxiety depression and in February of that year he was prescribed some even more serious pain relief medication after he cracked his rib. You know, the cracks were starting to show right across the board.
The next events in my life changed everything I thought I knew. They caused me to look the meaning of my life square in the eye.