Does everything come along just at the moment that you need it or can use it most? It kind of feels like I could have used the Manifesto five years ago, but maybe I wasn’t in the right state of mind. I certainly wasn’t in the position to share it as I can now. Six years ago I was working my way up (so I thought) to the eventual position of store owner. “Own a store by 40” was my mantra and I rationally proceeded through the necessary steps (sales associate, assistant manager, manager, presumable owner once the current owner retired). Five years ago, my boss returned from being away; I started questioning the path that I was on, I started questioning my own value. But I realized I was really questioning my value to that specific workplace. My sister’s baby was due any day and I came to realize that my job was not on the path that I wanted to be. I would have to quit my job, maybe find some sort of job to “fill the time” until the two of us were “free” to start the store that I had been dreaming of. I spent a month writing a resume and thinking about being a secretary. The day before Thanksgiving, I woke up around 6 in the morning, no lie, with the proverbial light bulb moment: We should open our own store! How was it that I had missed that thought even though I had spent the last ten years telling everyone that’s what I wanted? I don’t know! I guess sometimes we are so consumed in our routine and the steps to which we’ve committed and the impediments we perceive, that we forget to step back and remember our larger goals. In the next 3 months, I finished up my old job. My sister wrote the business plan while nursing a new baby in the wee hours of the morning. We got a loan and signed a lease, we painted, we scrounged for fixtures, we started making our lists of vendors and artists. And in March of 2008, my sister and I opened Anthology, our craft and paper shop in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. We sell our own creations as well as those of other local and independent artists, all paper goods and supplies for people to create on their own, as well as products that simply inspire us. I feel strongly that there is not enough creativity in the world. People are told at very early ages that they can’t paint or draw and then they spend the rest of their lives saying they “aren’t creative.” But I believe that everyone is creative. Whether we express themselves in paint or pencil, soil or spices, we, as human beings, are creating. Constantly. My goal, the goal of the store, is to encourage people to start to think about their own creative dreams and inspirations, and to follow them. The Holstee Manifesto fits in perfectly. It is a HUGE risk, it is a challenge, there have been tears, there have been sleepless nights. But committing to my dream: there is no regret or substitute for that. As an introvert, it is a challenge for me to be a shopgirl; as an artist, it is easy to have hurt feelings when someone doesn’t like or appreciate the work that I’ve done. In some ways it seems so much easier to just sit at home in my living room and work on art projects simply for the sake of doing so. BUT, oh my, would I miss out if I had done that. Being so personally invested in our store means that peoples’ appreciation (and, let’s face it, their purchases) mean so much more. They are an affirmation of this path that we have followed. And when someone comes in and tells me that I inspired them to start this project or that, then I feel satisfied on a very deep level that I am fulfilling my goal, that in sharing my passion, I have helped others discover their own. The Holstee Manifesto didn’t jump start this path that I am on, but the words are an affirmation and reminder of the choices that I can make and the power that I have over my own life. Plus, it gives me great satisfaction to hang the Manifesto in our shop, to see the people stopping and reading, purchasing the print or card to take with them, and to be a part of this fabulous movement. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ― Howard Thurman

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