Sunday, November 4, 2018

Thanksgiving II: Gratitude, brick by brick

Good morning! Is there anything as comforting as the beginning of November?  It’s just such a delight after such a busy time to be able to really stop and catch your breath.  My world has been pretty nonstop since February and it’s nice to be feeling some normalcy and the commitments slowing down a bit.  When I last wrote in March I was wrapping up my South Carolina real estate license and really just getting ready to begin my new venture.  I honestly could not have imagined it would all go so well so fast.  I think the hardest part of taking on anything new is accepting that it will often be uncomfortable and you will not know what you’re doing.  When you are a pleasure and comfort loving Taurus like me, stepping outside your comfort zone doesn’t just sound stressful, it sounds ludicrous.  And yet as part of this bigger picture, I’ve known it’s absolutely necessary.  The days have felt long but the months have flown by and every day it all feels a little bit more second nature to me. 

It’s been exciting to feel the shift from treading water, to swimming, to actually getting somewhere.  Something I am really trying to be mindful of as I build this business is to allow myself to accept individual achievements as success, even if I haven’t crossed The Big Thing off the list.  I think it’s a mistake I made while building my first business.  I was so obsessed with getting there that I didn’t give myself the credit for placing each brick along the way.  Some businesses can be bought pre-fabricated but both my salon and real estate businesses are really made brick by brick. Rather than be grateful for the clients on my books, I’d feel frustrated by the open spaces.   I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person who has a business, not necessarily a businessman.  To call myself a ”businessman” feels kind of like Romy and Michele dressing up andpretending they invented Post-its.  Yet through this period of growth, change, and mild to moderate discomfort, I’ve realized I have a lot of the fundamentals covered, thanks to my previous experience.  The good news is if you’re thinking of starting a business, I can tell you it’s pretty simple.  Keep in touch with people, answer your fucking phone, offer help to your community with the expectation of getting nothing in return, and don’t be an asshole.  Oh, and don’t be afraid to tell people what you do and ask for the business.  So put me in your phone 614.314.8099! I think sometimes we can be so hungry to accomplish the goal we snowball every part of achieving it into crossing the finish line and don’t let ourselves feel success for the achievements along the way that ultimately piece together the end result. 
The benefit of this previous experience is helping me enjoy this process and really feel immense gratitude along the way.  It’s a healthier way to work and I only wish I had learned it sooner.  Another part of this is allowing yourself to adapt along the way and forgive your own mistakes. 

Luscious lowcountry greens! Around every corner, I am tempted to take snips and make new arrangements. 
first, a soak in the tub! 

Some of my most fond memories on Hilton Head are collecting pinecones with my grandmother. 
A tradition that goes on
 So what does all this have to do with Thanksgiving? Well it gives you an excuse to buy new shit! I’ve been a bad boy lately and it’s really all between me, God, Paypal, and the USPS.  I can hardly believe how much my style has changed in the last few years.  On one hand it has gotten a bit more austere but on other other, a lot more fussy.  In anticipation for my tsunami of cardboard boxes headed my way via eBay, I decided I really needed to do some clearing out.  Do you have some things you pick up and put back down several times before you pull the trigger and just get rid of them?  Such is the case with these stupid cobalt glass shell plates.  I’ve had them way too long and never used them, and yet I still get why I bought them.  They’re cute and kinda coastal and remind me of something that would have been in a Gourmet magazine “Surf and Turf Dinner Party” in like August 1987. 
Sorry I hardly even got a photo of them! On their way out..

I bought them in like 2011 because while I didn’t yet have my own Hilton Head property on the vision board, they gave me that feeling, as much of HHI was developed in the 80s.  But the plates and I have had a come-to-Jesus and the fact of the matter is while I like them, I don’t like them enough to use them.  I have now entertained in Hilton Head several times and when given the chance to use them, I opted not to.  So if I’m not even going to use them in an 80s coastal environment, I think they gotta go.  While it’s my instinct to be a little annoyed with myself, why the fuck did I buy these and why the fuck have I kept them so long? Through my kinder, gentler, hoardier lens, I see perhaps they were a little piece of the puzzle toward my current path.  So off they go into the thrift store abyss, perhaps to be found by another emotionally unstable gay man to fulfill his own 80s coastal dreams.  See, so it’s like totally okay that I have like seven boxes of china coming. 


  1. Awwww..Stephen! I hear you!!!!! I am going through the same purging thing a matter of fact, it is my goal today to get into the basement and start "unhoarding". LOL Funny about the cobalt. I gave all my cobalt along with blue/white china to my daughter a few years back...and have never yet seen her use it.
    My youngest son and I opened a real estate business the first of this year and we are doing quite well-it is all about being a servant to others and putting yourself 'out there physically AND emotionally. You have a servant's heart- so I know you will do well. You are so right, too, you have to build the business one brick (client) at a time.

    I hope you have a wonderful Sunday. xo Diana


  3. TOTALLY! I think a splurge and a purge now and then is healthy, and... absolutely sound advice regarding business building as well. We have several businesses in the construction field and you hit the nail on the head! Every nail hit on the head is a goal achieved.. why do we forget that as we're climbing the stairs to success.. and why do we beat ourselves up so when we have to take a step down or two now and again. It's an inevitable occurrence in this grayscale life! And inevitable any time we are willing to step out on a limb, move outside our comfort zone. But it grows us in good ways, not just the frustrating ways.

    LOVE seeing you on the blog again, still waiting for that book! Come on now... Don't disappoint! :-)

  4. 'Tis the season. The great thing about pretending to de-clutter and get rid of stuff in storage is that it makes way for new things! I recently cleaned out my closet, and after feeling good seeing all those empty hangers in my closet, proceeded to stage a shopping invasion of my local White House Black Market. And I had the hangers all ready to go!.Enjoy all your new things as you decorate for the holiday!

  5. Haha!! you're so funny! So let's get this straight.... you're getting rid of ONE box to make way for SEVEN new boxes of treasures? Good on you! I happen to think those cobalt blue dishes are pretty, not sure what that say's about me but I'm pretty sure I won't be stopping by a thrift store near you.

    I do wish you were my realtor though! I think you'll be fabulous and any client will be so lucky to have you. Personal connection with a realtor for me is huge and I have to sense they 'get me' and what I'm after...hmmm.. not quite there. Does this mean you'll be moving to Hilton head permanently and giving up the salon? Or is that a 'yet to be announced' and completely gauche of me to ask? If so, so sorry!

    Your message of appreciating each brick or accomplishment on the way is right on for me too at this moment. In fact it was my assignment this week from my OT mindfulness guru type person. I don't do it enough. Thanks for the reminder!! And best Thanksgiving to you 'down there'. Barb xxoo

  6. I'm sure you will love your new things even more. The 80's were overrated anyways! Your message to value the positive steps along the way hits home right now. Thanks.

  7. Can't wait to see your new pieces! I ordered some Pagnossin yellow and blue china from etsy because they looked French (even though they're made in Italy). I didn't need them. I just wanted them. :) And I have no regrets. I need to apply your system of clearing to my clothes. I was on vacation for two weeks and part of it with my best friend and we love to shop -for clothes. It's a lesson for me in packing, laundry facilities available notwithstanding. I think the theme here is "preparedness." I think we can be proud of that. :D ~Nicole in CA p.s. Congratulations on all your achievements!

  8. Your floral bowl is peerless! x