"My Way" (lyrics by Paul Anka)
And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I traveled each and ev'ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
"Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!
The words to this song "My Way" written by Paul Anka and popularized by Frank Sinatra and later by Sid Vicious ring so true with me these days. Of course, ol' Frank sang this with conviction, and Sid Vicious sang it with sarcasm. Me, I'm singing it with passion. I've run my life so long doing things other people's way, its time I listened to my soul, and found out what my way is.
I am just wrapping up 2 of the most intense months of my life. Other than leaving my husband, and breaking up a business partnership, the decision to close my store and downsize my company has been one of the most intense, painful, draining, exciting, frightening, and at times, gut-wrenching experiences ever.
I made the decision to close as I stood watching all my guests help me celebrate 10 years of Gearhead Records. My idol Exene Cervenka was playing the party, which was one of the most surreal moments ever--the singer for one of my favorite bands, X, was here at my store!!! At that moment, enjoying what I had created, the community, the music, the food, the atmosphere, I was able to detach and really look at things, and realize I had done everything I set out to do, and then some. I couldn't top this, and I didn't want to. I knew right then, it was time to close this chapter of my life.
Making the decision was easier than the execution however. Closing down the store, dealing with vendors, customers, product and all the fixtures was a lot bigger job than I realized. Thank God I'm an optimist. I always think things will go smoother and faster than they actually do. I've learned to laugh at myself though, because I'm always surprised when things are tougher than I imagined. If I knew how tough things would be, I probably would never start in the first place!
Once the store was closed it was time to deal with my 3500 square foot warehouse which has housed the record label and store these last 4 years. I had such big dreams when I moved into this space. Not only had I planned on creating a center where like-minded people could gather to share music, food and good company, I had also planned on creating a screen-printing studio, and a recording studio. But dreams change, and the trick is to allow yourself to own the change and flow with it, or get stuck fighting it. And if there's one thing I've learned finally after all these years of tough lessons: when I see the inevitable need to change beckoning, I have to listen to my gut and go with it.
And so, this last week with the help of Bill, my boyfriend, and several really close, very good friends, I made the transition to my new space. I had spent almost a month boxing things up, selling stuff and trying to pack up 10 years of business in a few days, and through brute force and sheer will and determination, we moved it all in 100+ degree heat.
Once the actual move was done, I had to clean the space, and so have spent the last 4 days cleaning and mopping every square inch of that warehouse. I was taught to leave a space better than you found it, and I did just that. In a way, it was a way of blessing the place, and saying goodbye. I needed to do it myself, despite offers of help. I needed this time to say goodbye.
As I cleaned each room, I let the memories flow, and sometimes the tears. It was a really good place for me to try and create what I thought I wanted. But as I cleaned, I realized I was creating what others wanted. I wanted to make people happy; to help them realize their dreams. Helping them made me happy, or so I thought. But it really was a way to avoid my inner voice, and to avoid my own creative impulses.
During the walk-through with the landlord, she was impressed with how good the place looked. And I was proud to tell her I worked very hard to leave this place spotless and better than I found it so the next tenant would have as good a place to work as I did. I was able to give her the keys and lock the doors for one last time and walk away feeling good.
I have no idea what is coming, or what these next few months will look like. Every one keeps asking me what I'll do, and I can honestly say "I don't know." But what I do know is I will take the lessons I've learned these last 10 years, and mindfully create my new life, listening to my gut, and finding my own creative voice. Who knows, maybe I'll start a band!