Deciding to close Pearl Equestrian (my previous business) was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It took exactly one year from the first time I questioned, "is this really what I want for myself" until the official announcement that I was closing Pearl's doors. That initial doubt started in January 2019 - I was severely understaffed, and therefore had been working 90 -100 hour weeks for about five weeks straight. I hurt everywhere, was extremely sleep deprived, and overwhelmed. I got through the winter, and with spring came new hope, new employees, and some relief. Summer brought horse shows, new students and additional revenue, but ultimately all that did was prolong the inevitable - this was not how I wanted to live my life and the business wasn't sustainable. It was bleeding me dry financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I'll never forget the day it dawned on me that this was over. It had been a rough morning; nothing had gone smoothly and although this was sort of the norm, I had nothing left to give. I got on my young Thoroughbred, who was of course always extremely sensitive to my emotional state, and he was having none of it. My close friend asked me what was wrong, and the truth came out - I was done. It HURT to admit that out loud. It felt like a part of me was dying. I sobbed, and could barely stay upright. This friend pointed out to me that I was providing this beautiful space and community to my clients - at the expense of my health and wellbeing. I knew it was true, and I knew I couldn't do it any more.
Even though I knew deep in my gut, I still wouldn't let go. I was in denial. I tried to hang on, cut costs, increase revenue, hire better help - even though we were going into the winter. Many people applauded my "grit", but in reality I just wasn't brave enough to let go yet. I was even in negotiations with the owners of the property to buy the farm, but midway through January I was informed there was an offer, and I quickly realized I didn't have enough time to organize financing in order to keep the farm from selling out from under me. It was quite the punch in the gut, and frankly the way things were handled by the other parties involved didn't feel fair at all. But here's the deal - my life path no longer included Pearl Equestrian, and I was destined for other stuff. I'm a very stubborn woman and the universe had to pry Pearl from my grip in order for me to move on. The farm sold, and I finally surrendered to the closing of that chapter of my life.
I remained solitary for a long while after Pearl closed, and Covid exacerbated that isolation, but I really just didn't want to talk to anyone about what happened and I'm still recovering from the burnout. But now that I am opening up to more people, I realize that their perception of "what happened" (the farm selling) was this awful thing that destroyed my dreams. Ladies and gentleman, that is NOT the case. I needed to move on with my life, and everything is always working out for the best. The universe gave me the nudge - or giant push, rather - to move the hell on.
There's a few messages I want to convey here:
Letting go is HARD, but sometimes making that leap is the best thing you'll ever do. It was for me. I am SO happy now. I'm healthy, I'm rested, I'm growing, I'm learning, I'm expanding, and I have room in my life for relationships and friends that were always pushed aside before. It is the hardest decision I ever made, but it was the best one. If you're struggling with something like this, and you know in your gut what is right for you - DO THAT THING. The rest will always work itself out.
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes things feel awful in the moment, and sometimes it's even rough for a while, but trust the process. The farm selling and having to move all my stuff and horses out in less than two weeks sucked, but I'm glad it happened, and I'm grateful that events unfolded in such a way that I was forced to make the right move.
You don't have anything to prove to anyone. You are worthy. You are enough. And you do not need validation from anyone else. I have had an "I'll prove you wrong" mindset for my entire life. Sometimes a little bit of this tenacity is beneficial. It certainly contributed to my drive and success. But ultimately my need to prove myself to others became the unhealthy reason I hung on for too long. I didn't want anyone to see me "fail" even though I know in my heart, Pearl was not a failure. It was a great success, a great experience, and a beautiful journey. It just wasn't my whole story. When one door closes, ten more open up.