In 2016, I wrote this text and never published it on the blog. With the pandemic, I see many friends of mine facing the difficult decision to close their business. They are consultancies, doctor’s offices, restaurants, shops and bars. In long conversations with them, I remembered this text. It has a bitter sweet taste, which is the closing of one cycle and the entry into another.
In 2016, in addition to seeing myself completing the magic and feared 40 years, I also found myself facing a new scenario in my professional life: my family and I decided to close our business of building material stores, a very good decision. taken and rational, since the vast majority of entrepreneurs even sell personal assets in the hope of saving their business.
In our case, it was not even a question of saving the business. My father had cancer at an early stage, and thank God he managed to remove it with delicate surgery. My brothers each wanted to run their own business. And I will not lie that the market was good, because for years we had been suffering from competition and price cannibalism. So we decided to close the doors, pay all terminations, with our heads held high. End.
For the first time in 17 years (I joined the company in 1998), I had no reason to wake up at 8:00 am, dress appropriately, take the car, drive to the office, have lunch on time at 12:30 in the company cafeteria, leave at 18:00 pm.
I didn’t have lunch waiting for me, a doorman who opened the door, people waiting for me at 9:00 in the morning. No obligations, no motivations.
Then an abyssal fear came to me: I imagined myself with messed hair, in flannel clothes, that hasn’t washed my face for a week, with a blanket wrapped around my body, waking up one o’clock in the afternoon, eating a bag of fatty snacks, and watching TV all day.
I have always worked since I was 16, with an uninterrupted routine from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm, a 1-hour lunch break, and for the past 15 years, work on Saturdays as well.
Suddenly, this routine ends. You don’t have time to wake up, right time to sleep, to have lunch.
I had no fear of not having money, because I made a good nest and I have the income to support myself for a comfortable life (not luxurious, but dignified) without new wages. But it was precisely that certainty of comfort that scared me. Am I going to be a bon vivant only?
I know people who live like that, and I don’t blame them. The saddest are the people, who even with determination and good intentions, that erode the family heritage in unsuccessful businesses, do not close out of pure pride. People who live on income have an inheritance, and are smart enough to save more than spend their income. Good for them. But I don’t admit it to myself. In part I owe it to my dear mom (just kidding, I’ll talk about the importance of her teasing me in another chapter), but I’m proud to say that I’m working and making money.
It’s hard for me to introduce myself to someone or go to an event and say that I don’t do anything. If I were a mother, I would have an escape valve. But it is not my case. So, as cautious as I am and fearing a dark phase of vagabond hermit, I worked and when my company was about to close, i was already opening another one. A small consultancy, to help people to set up their own compact apartment, without starting costs, almost as a joke. Hence the title of this chapter: doing your new routine is like swimming naked in the lake.
I say lake because it is finite, you can see its departure and arrival. The sea does not. You have an objective, an end, which is to reach the end of this lake, and you can see it. The other side of the lake for me is finishing this book, making my consultations happen, making my own money again. I say swim naked because it would be unimaginable for me. I swim super badly, I learned at 18 and at most I know not to drown. Even less naked, I am very discreet and barely get naked in the gym, let alone the lake, in public places. Because it is not easy. It is not easy at all. You don’t know if you have enough capacity, disinhibition, breath or courage. And you see yourself every day, alone, in front of a huge lake, just you and him. You decide whether to go through it.
I could grab a beer and a lounge chair and tell the lake to fuck off. I could stop halfway and come back. Will I have the satisfaction of reaching the other end of the lake and seeing what I have achieved? Nobody is seeing you, applauding you or judging you. It’s you with yourself. I could wake up at noon, work until 2 pm, and then wander around the city or surf the Internet. There is no shortage of leisure for the unoccupied mind, especially in São Paulo.
There are people who can be mega productive in 2 hours and do a lot more than many people who spend 10 hours in the office.
But I need several hours of the day dedicated to income work. At least now.
So I wake up grumpy every day at 8:00 am (ok, some days I wake up 9:00 am) and try to reach the end of the other lake. There is no nightlife, drinking with friends, party or event that takes me out of this routine.
And even if the other end of the lake is not so beautiful, it was worth the crossing.
I haven’t planted a tree yet (I’m going to do it) and I didn’t have a child (I don’t think I’m going to do it), but I have a book written by me and the way I wanted to conceive it, with all my language clichés and my bad words (sorry , mom).
I managed to open my company. Its not yet a millionaire one, but you can pay the bill and have a little left over at the end of the month. And look, knowing that I am doing without depending on the money saved, after the closing of my old company, gives me a damned pride, gives me a self-esteem that I would never have otherwise.
Girl, create your lakes to cross them, whatever they are. Life is too short to not have these challenges.