The windows are open. The down comforters are off of the beds. And sandals are on my feet. Out in the garden my plants have not just emerged from the soil (finally!) but burst into bloom. Daffodils, trillium, trout lily, lily of the valley, tulips and lilacs are all blooming in unison.
If you aren't a gardener this may not mean much to you. But in a typical year my garden blooms in a slow succession starting as early as February. This year our long winter has led to a crazy, compressed spring and it is wonderful.
Last Monday I ran into my neighbor out in the yard reading while her baby and toddler played nearby. We got to chatting about what it takes to run a creative business. (This is my interior designer/illustrator neighbor that saved me a couple of weeks ago with a cup of coffee and a smile when the power was unexpectedly cut for three hours during the day.) The next day I gathered up some of my favorite books to loan her for inspiration—Work for Money, Design for Love by David Airey, Success by Design by David Sherwin—and a stack of Creative Business newsletters by Cameron Foote.
Midweek I met a couple of designer/educator friends for breakfast. It was my treat in return for one of them completing a small pro bono job as a favor to me. As we relaxed over breakfast we discussed the local design scene, graduating seniors, adjunct teaching, co-working spaces and building design community. We continued our conversation via email by brainstorming some names for one project and offering some design advice on another.
Thursday, my husband and I took a morning walk and ran into a two different neighbors who run their own businesses (one a former happy client whose children used to babysit my kids). The two of us stole a moment to talk about financial planning in preparation for my youngest child heading off to college in a year.
Friday I wrapped up the week at Starbucks with one of my dearest friends. She was freshly-energized by a three-day painting workshop. I was excited to share some photos with her that I had taken the day before. This particular friend is just beginning to think about retirement, or at least doing some new things. We talked about the struggles of staying fresh, old clients and new websites and trip to New York City later this month. When she dropped me off, a different neighbor was at my door, coming to tell us that he was heading out town to his son's graduation from design school.
Working by yourself can be lonely but I try to remember I'm not alone.
Like my garden, my life is a mash up. I have a variety of friends at different points in their careers that I can turn to for companionship, advice and inspiration. Young and old, funny and serious, designers and non-designers, entrepreneurs and those looking for some job security—my friends have helped me understand my practices and processes and become better and verbalizing them, brought me perspective and sometimes just listened.
Need someone to bounce an idea off of? Would you like a second opinion on something you are working on? Just need someone to talk to? If you are local, let me buy you a cup of coffee. If you aren't local, leave a comment. I can't wait to hear from you.