Thanksgiving Gratitude for Entrepreneurship

I’ve traded them all in: real time to spend with friends, beachside vacations, secure bank accounts, even page-turning novels.

The attraction for the sacrifice? My own businesses, working with my husband. In fact, three of them at the moment – two officially and one in practice.

They’re all video production-related, so they’ve felt the impact of the recession, causing us to increase our hat collections – not actually, of course, because that would be a financial luxury right now. But from my end of the division of labor, I can count as my jobs: film producer, writer (those are the two I like best), bookkeeper (yuck – the numbers laugh at me), marketer (fun), salesperson (not a good fit), social networker (enjoy some of the networks some of the time, but not all of the networks all of the time), and even expert in whatever subject we are videotaping to ensure we get all the nuances in interviews, images and graphics.

It’s midnight as I write this – a typical work day. It will end in an hour or so then begin again in another eight. And I’m likely to wake up half-way through my night’s dreams suddenly remembering something that needs to be done immediately or else… But I won’t make a note on my Blackberry, won’t go that far. I promised myself a long time ago that my phone-email-notetaking-et al device, sitting inches away from my head as it charges each night, is off limits during the few sleeping hours I allot.

Tomorrow, as I plug away at a new project, my efforts will be interlaced with seconds of guilt: the friend who had surgery and I forgot to call, the dinner date I need to cancel last minute, the gift I forgot to buy, my multiple in-boxes with multiple emails that have gone unanswered. It’s only my husband who doesn’t feel neglected since we are both in the same lifeboat baling ourselves out together.

An aspiring independent business owner reading this is probably ready to apply for a secure job. Yet there is no salary tempting enough to convince me to change course! Certainly all these footnotes of daily life are burdensome, but the substantive work that is the fabric of my professional dealings are mine to structure everyday. I tailor the work to my interests (that is, most of the work most of the time). I fill my thoughts with ideas that cause my whole being to rock, and I take them as far as they can go. No dream gets quashed without serious consideration; no “no” to a great “have to do” even when “yes” is illogical. No limits on our freedom to fly creatively — and to fly actually, landing in destinations around the world while we inhale through our brains and cameras the stories we are present to record for our clients and for documentaries we create.

In addition to having loving family members and friends with seemingly limitless reserves of understanding, the flood of happiness provided by this life of entrepreneurship forms the content of my thanksgiving this holiday, even if many of life’s details get swallowed under its waves.

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