Tales from a Shopkeep: on expectations & anniversaries

69675105_523298668432295_6416492367821406208_nThis past weekend we celebrated our fifth anniversary.  It kind’ve snuck up on me, as things often do. But, I had planned ahead (as I also often do). I reached out to friends to see if they would join us for the festivities; Jim from BadKneesTs to screenprint t-shirts on the spot, with a special Gather tee in the mix too, Lesley from Terrari and the Fairy to make adorable and lively terrariums, and David and Erica from Nomad Yarns to have a pop-up dyeing class and the yarn truck parked out front. Of course, it was also a Gallery Walk night (purposefully) and Cassidy Young (known for her Bloomington restaurant series) was our exhibiting artist.  I had snacks. Good music (always). Store was clean and ready. Stocked with brand new items and old favorites. I was ready . . . or so I thought.

69974975_2568569603195395_1756408506124075008_nI’m not quite sure how to word the rest of this post. I want to be honest. I want to be authentic. I want to be real. But, I also don’t want to come off as whiny and entitled . . . but maybe that’s exactly what I am?

Here’s the thing. I ended up having an amazing evening. It really was about setting expectations. So that’s what I’m going to focus on. I’m generally pretty good as a human at not setting myself up for disappointment. I don’t often ask a lot of other people – for that very reason. It gets me into trouble sometimes (ie – with children and partners), but for the most part, this way of life serves me well. I don’t have high expectations for others, therefore I don’t get let down. I know that sounds terribly negative, but trust me, it’s a way of not only surviving, but thriving for me. My partner told me just the other day that I’m a very hard person to let down – and I have to kinda assume this is why.

So, I set my expectations too high. I set them too . . . wide. And now I know. It’s sometimes hard to know, right? As a small business owner, with many friends and connections in this town . . . who is your friend? Who is your customer? Who is your collaborator? Who is  . . . anyone? Maybe there’s a lot of reading between the lines here that I’m not getting at. Sorry?

69762509_387380071925753_5508297073243455488_nAt the end of the day we had a really great turn-out full of customers and those that appreciate Gather for what it is. And me, I guess. It was humbling and joyful all evening to hear customers come in and wish us a happy anniversary, and tell us how much they enjoy the shop and how it’s been a haven for them in times of . . . well, all kinds of times. We had a customer come in from Maryland, having just moved to Indiana, who was overjoyed she ‘finally found a shop like Gather’ to celebrate being queer. Customers with whom are children have grown up together. Customers that have watched us grow from a pop-up to where we are now, and followed us all the way. Some friends just wanted to come in and give me a squeeze. Another brought me flowers . . . and tea.

It was a good night that ended with putting my feet up and lying next to my Love while watching a new show and drinking lots of water. Because I’m old. And I’m still learning to set my expectations 🙂

i hope your days are filled up . . .

-talia

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