There are few people untouched by Jack Layton's parting message to Canada, or by the tributes so eloquently paid to him in the last week. Of all the calls to action and words of advice that have been expressed, something Mike Layton said has stuck with me. It's not a new idea, but it's a vital one. In his eulogy, he talked about how Jack knew conditions would never be perfect (the anecdote was about sailing), but you have to make the best of things the way they are, and just go ahead anyway. As Gracie Heavy Hand of the Dead Dog Cafe used to say, "Stay Calm. Be brave. Wait for the signs." I'm not one for "signs" from above or anything like that, but I am a big fan of following one's own intuition or gut feeling. The older I get, the more confidence I have in listening to myself.
It's so easy to live in fear: of failure, of poverty, of loneliness... but to do so is a terrible waste. I've been close to a number of people who have died far too young, so I am perhaps especially aware of how time can run out before you've realized your dreams.
A lawyer recently wrote in a mean-spirited letter to me that it was not reasonable that I was not earning an income. There is so much wrong with this statement. First of all, it is perfectly reasonable and part of my business plan to derive a living wage from my business in year 5, not year 3. To expect differently is to set yourself up for failure. Secondly, what's unreasonable about choosing to follow my passion instead of slogging away at a meaningless job? And finally, there are a lot of earnings to be had besides money. Doing this job isn't just how I spend my days; it's how I spend my life.
I chose to seize the day when I started Wise Daughters. I don't live up to my Carpe Diem motto every day, but I try to seize the majority of them. Because what is the alternative except to let them slip by? I'm not going to let that happen.