Once upon a time there were two girls. Having studied together for four years in art school they found themselves drinking lattes in Starbucks and declaring that after the ordeal of their degree they 'could handle anything'. That might well have been the case, but five years on they are finding that they may not have wished upon themselves the challenge of testing that theory.
Sometimes in life you feel that you can do anything. At other times you feel at the top of your game, that everyone around you understands what you are trying to achieve. Sometimes you whisper to your nearest and dearest that everything you are saying is bullshit, but realise that everything uttered by those around you is bullshit too, and that is how these things go, the secret of it all. Having a fixed point to aim towards in the future is the biggest incentive to move forward, to work 70 hour weeks and not blink an eye. To look around you and see that everything is yours, everything was created by you, not another is both overwhelming and, at times, underwhelming. What happens though when that fixed point in the future develops a strange mist just in front of it. A doubt creeps in, a knowledge of the way things really are, for you, and everyone. When you have peers who you admire, envy?, possibly, but ultimately want to stand alongside start to crumble and fall. The truth you sought so veraciously suddenly appears before you and you wish you never knew it. Didn't open Pandora's box. Sometimes, now, all I wish for is that all consuming and ever powerful naivety that told me, us, that we could do anything. The plans that were ours and the empire that would grow was there in the future and all we had to do was move forward. At the time we would dissect other people's success, look for the secret, what is it they're doing? What's the magical ingredient we need to work our backsides off for? Because we would have done it. If someone had said 'work 100 hours a week and don't even think about stopping' we would have laughed, that was no problem, we can do that! But when the road map was uncovered to us we realised that maybe this wasn't the way we wanted to go. There is something to be said for fumbling along in the dark with a smile on your face. But when suddenly the road sign is uncovered and there are still a thousand miles to go, well you have to question things.
A lot of those companies we admired so much seemed to be rotting under the surface. Thousands of pounds in debt, mortage in arrears, not paid staff for a month. We didn't want to be like that. Our wee business was definitely only wee, but we had our souls intact and unsold. There's a lot to be said for that.
But enough of that. A question must be asked, and without the background it cannot properly be understood. What happens when two girls had a company, a life and a plan, and suddenly it was gone? Well for one, they had a sleep. The 7 day weeks and 10 hour shifts can only continue for a certain amount of time. Five years if you were curious. Eighteen thousand hours, give or take. They got jobs and paid their bills. And then they started planning again. Rather more quietly this time it must be said. With much less scribbling on endless scraps of paper. One of them took a month off and escaped to the middle of France. She received delivery of a new laptop the day before she left and hired a car and started to type.