“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day…. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t” David Foster Wallace http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhhC_N6Bm_s
My very first blog post on PittMoss® From the Ground Up, announcing my departure from a successful, long-term tourism career to pursue an entrepreneurial adventure, happened a little over a year ago. The past three hundred and ninty odd days have flown by, mostly. Admittedly, there have been some periods of eternally slow waiting for a piece of equipment or a much needed check. Those of you who know me, know, patience is not my greatest strength.
Despite the occasional worries, I consider this venture a luxurious gift to myself, far surpassing ownership of an Italian sports car, designed by someone named Enzo or a Miami Beach condo with an ocean view. This past year has been a sabbatical from the unconsciousness of contemporary life, working for others. Some might call what I’m doing a mid-life crisis but I consider it the greatest fiftieth birthday gift I could ever have given myself.
In the past twelve months I have, candidly, spent most of my savings buying big pieces of manufacturing equipment, diesel fuel, truck-loads of recycled paper, and product additives. I’ve paid salaries to employees, fees to professionals, and taxes to local, state and federal governments, all while withholding a salary to myself. I’ve provided truckloads of product samples to prospective customers and debated with my product’s skeptics. My partners, employees and I have proudly delivered orders of PittMoss®, and swelled with pride by making something others want to possess. I thought nothing could surpass that level of gratification until I watched a struggling local farmer show off the big, beautiful, and bountiful plant plugs he grew in PittMoss® to other growers and farmers.
I haven’t taken a grand vacation in the last twelve months, or read acclaimed novels, while sifting warm sand between my toes, watching my yacht lie at anchor off shore. No major personal purchases have occurred within the Handley household and said household is a few days away from being owned by others as I write this post. Our start-up has not been recognized by any International Environmental Organizations or been featured on any national or international news broadcasts but despite the modern, reality TV trappings of success we feel it within ourselves. Somehow I know that is more important like holding a bag of seeds through the winter to plant in the spring.
Some people might look at my past twelve-month existence and see an undesirable life of risk, complication and uncertainty. Truth be told, I have experienced more stress, discomfort and sleepless nights in the past year than I can really ever recall. I’m not complaining though. Nope, I’m bragging, like posting luxury vacation photos to a Facebook wall, or Instagram or Twitter account. No, I’m telling you all about my year of liberation from the slow abrasive daily grind. And yeah, I sort of feel smug about it.