steve duross - craftsman. artisan. entrepreneur. musings on running and growing a small business

finding a place among the tribe

daunting. that would be my best approximation of the holiday season. as with any retail business, if you're doing your job, things get hectic. producing the product only serves to enhance the frantic nature of the experience. whatever one might think of the holiday season, it gives us a chance to catch up. an opportunity for which we are truly grateful.

i read somewhere that expectations only lead to resentment. well that's pretty glass half empty, but sometimes accurate. i create large expectations. within the brand. within our staff. within my family. i create large expectations within myself. at times this leads me to resentment. i know it does with some of the people around me. it simply cannot be helped. a by-product of demanding greatness. i sometimes wonder what my world would be like if i only cared about the bottom line. i guess we will never know.

recently i was chatting with my sister. a pas de deux of unsaid things that only siblings can deftly accomplish. as she danced around the idea, for the umpteenth time, of how her growing family (marriages, grandchildren, etc.) meant that everyone should curb their expectations about gathering the original core family at the holidays, i perfectly mirrored these sentiments until i swayed in the direction that this new paradigm left me free to pursue... how annoying. never wanting to lapse into the assumed role of odd-uncle-in-the-corner, i choose, as ever, to simply be free to do as i please. it's not that i don't love my family, i just don't wish to be undefined. or worse, allow them to define me. i fit into this tribe, but not easily. maybe if someone else in my family actually wanted to discuss the final four on this season's drag race finale... but no, that's never going to happen. i like to believe that with our business, having the profound opportunity to know so many people in an intimate way gives me license to show up in the world the way that i do. most likely not but a guy can still dream. it is on the rarest occasion that i find myself lonely, and though i thoroughly enjoy my solitude, most of my days are filled with an abundance of wonderful and interesting people.

recently i have been mourning the loss of a friend. something i feel more keenly than i would have expected. the thing is, i am standing in this moment trying to make sense of what's left and the world around me keeps moving as if nothing has occurred. sarah stays in the moment with me. silently strong. reminding me that whatever i am feeling is natural. with sarah i am never alone.

2016 is a year on which i will not look back upon with undiluted pleasure. a year that proved my spine is made of steel (some will say my heart too but that will be proven an unworthy epithet in the years to come). i learned that i can bend in gale force winds that blow unmercifully without breaking, that possessions rarely matter, that the only love worth giving is without expectation and that resentment belongs to those who simply cannot meet the measure. i learned that politics is rhetoric, that rhetoric is stupid and that pragmatism is my only way forward. i learned that to dream is not enough. a plan is required. and another, and another, and another. i also learned that you can still get mono at fifty-four (so so tired).

my tribe may be small but my tent is quite large. finding my place is a part of my journey. this is who i have always been and shall ever be, and as long as i have my strength and my health, anything is possible for the future