We all need a little rescuing from time to time. I never thought however that when I rescued our two dogs, StuPac and Biggie, that they would be the ones to rescue me.
Before Stu got home, I wanted to let him know that he was special and that he was wanted. I made him a raised dog feeder. After posting to social media, I got a lot of interest and requests but didn't think anything of it. I made another one when we rescued Biggie shortly thereafter. Same response on social media. Then I made and donated a couple to a local pet shelter as fundraising items in a silent auction and it wasn't until then that I knew I had something special! I was a corporate executive that was a user and taker. Now I am making up for it by making and giving back... I reflect at the table saw, I atone with my sander... Now I am a woodworker and here is my story.
I felt trapped. I felt trapped in a career that I loved but required a lot of my time. I felt trapped to the glitz and the glamour of life. I felt trapped to a family I was an observer to. I felt trapped by the need to keep up with the Jones'. I felt trapped by the need to "succeed."
I worked hard for what I have. I grew up in NYC and went to the best high school. I wanted a big college experience so I studied business at the UW-Madison. I wanted to travel the world so I joined the US Air Force. I wanted a career I could be proud of and that I would love, I had it. I have been to over 60 countries. I have experienced amazing things that most dream of. I traveled a ton... too much. I had an amazing, top performing team that I spend more time with than my family. I have the houses, boats, cars, toys and family to show for it. I thought I was living the dream, making success, creating options.
Then one day, my company unexpectedly dissolved my position and a career I had been so successfully building... was only... experiencing a mild hiccup because I was going to get back on the horse... find something bigger and better and write my own ticket! I got to spend more time at home while I was on the hunt, interviewing, freelance consulting and... being at home. I began to notice things, I bean to realize that I didn't even know what I didn't know about my family. I spent more time with my son. I spend more time with my wife. I spent more time thinking. I spent more time living... and I loved it. I found myself volunteering at my son's school, and eating lunches in the cafeteria with him. I found myself enjoying being a partner in house hold responsibilities. I found myself enjoying more time with my wife. Days on the job hunt turned to weeks and weeks turned to months. I was slowly trading $400 tomahawk ribeyes for cafeteria meat and loving it. I was slowly trading platinum statuses for bedtime reading with my son. I was slowly trading room service and turndowns for being a partner in life to my wife. My wife, a superhero in her own right, who was able to manage the household, raise our son and manage a very successful career in biotech during my time "away." I still don't know how she did it... but I am committed to finding out.
During this time we rescued our dogs. I was home and able to give the dogs the attention they needed during the transition. I found myself walking 10-15 miles a day in the the dead of the WI winters because they weren't able to be walked together. A man does a lot of swearing and thinking on those walks. A lot of thinking. I wanted a career that would challenge me but not take me away from what I just re-discovered. I wanted an career that would allow us to maintain our lifestyle but not have to sacrifice living it. I spent time making things for my son and finishing honey do list items that were promised and long over due. I started to build things for our home, because I enjoyed spending time in it. I found and grew a love for rescued wood. Wood from trees that grow in cities that would end up in landfills when the city cuts them down. Wood that has a more intense grain pattern because it grows in the strife of urban streets. I started to make cutting boards, dog feeders, furniture, kendamas with it... I gave them to teachers, friends and family as gifts. I realized that for so long I was paid to work with my mind and had forgotten the simple joy of creating with my hands.
My wife and a friend told me that I should start to sell my wares. Start my own business. Y'all are crazy I said. Its a passion not a career. There are no benefits or perks! But now, here I am, owner of Rescued Woodworks. I have the best benefits... I get to spend more time with my family. I get to be the father I want to be and the husband I need to be. I have perks for days... secret handshakes, being the cool dad on the block, cafeteria lunches, having a happy wife. I get to give back, to contribute. It's not enough but its a start.
We all need a little rescuing from time to time...