Hope Despite Circumstances Part 3 of 3

Becoming a full-time unemployed person has its’ challenges. First, it is incredibly boring. Without demands on your time and efforts, you sort of morph into a shell of yourself. For the first few years of doing just that, I found myself struggling with the most basic things. Why bother shaving, getting dressed all the way, or going outside, when nothing you do matters to anyone around you? Sure, life is carefree, but who wants that? Freedom to pursue whatever you dream up has serious problems. It sounds wonderful when you’re busy dealing with the demands of life, but in the end, it exposes just how feckless and fruitless is a life without meaning. I struggled for about 2 years with no external demands on my time and attention, which I consider to be a low point. In about 2010, I started looking for creative outlets and stumbled upon a desperate need for IT services in the area. Networking, helpdesk, IT consulting, and whatever was needed by schools, churches, and local small businesses became the focus. It was a small affair. I refused payment of any kind, only accepting bartering as payment. Some customers demanded that I allow them to pay me for my time, and as an accommodation, I started a business for tax purposes. Still a small affair with no plans to grow, I didn’t anticipate the demand. Word-of-mouth advertising was the ONLY means of growth, and when people like you they automatically start suggesting your services to their friends. Before you knew it, I was overwhelmed with work. Late at night people would contact me begging for some type of IT intervention.

In order to protect my private time, I opened a business in an office about the size of a walk-in closet. It was tiny, with barely enough room for me, a desk, and one person at a time. It was inexpensive and surprisingly profitable. I needed my family to help me keep up with the workload, and my wife stepped up. I’m ok with dealing with people, but I’d rather not deal with people with simple problems that they could solve without me. I get curt when tired (Hello, I have Narcolepsy so when am I not tired) and struggle not to be rude when I think they’re wasting my time. My wife is wonderful with difficult people, so it really helped to have her there. Not to mention she is my favorite person on the planet bar none, and I’d rather be with her than not.

This was a fun period, but as you can imagine, it wasn’t too long before the lines outside the door of the business became untenable. We definitely outgrew that closet and had to move to a much larger office space. We rented a much larger space next to the hardware store in town and quickly filled it up. My focus remained on the IT side of the business, and we added just a bit of retail space for selling products directly to customers. It was great, though it started to become a bit much. Mind you, my goal in all this was simply to have a reason to get up in the morning, not to replace my free time with an endless supply of meaningless work. After about 3 years of that, and numerous attempts to hire staff to help us, it became just too much. Still having never advertised beyond word of mouth, the demand became more than I could handle, and we closed down fully satisfied that we’d built a successful business. We still have the business and occasionally do IT work for businesses in the area, but for the most part, I now focus on the farm.

We closed shop a month or so before the pandemic and avoided the majority of the panic altogether. Thankfully we live in a more reasonable part of the country, and never suffered the mask paranoia so prevalent during the lockdown. If you wanted to panic, you certainly had the right to do so, but forcing others to do the same was not acceptable in my area and I’m grateful for that.

Whatever happened to letting people pursue happiness however they saw fit? When did we decide it was more important to avoid hurting other people’s feelings rather than freely expressing ourselves? Well, I am not concerned with your feelings in light of the freedoms lost through capitulating to unsatisfiable ingrates. If you choose to be offended, so be it. That’s not my intention, nor is it my concern. Life is too short to worry about such trivialities, and isn’t that the point after all?

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