REFLECTION: The Two Journeys of April 2021
I thought my first “Xenia Box Birthday Month” blog post would be a little different from what came out here. It’s a bit more personal and vulnerable; and I’ve vowed to be a real person behind this company whose mission is to create joy.
You see, when we discover people we can relate to or who tell of an experience that has us nodding in true “me, too” understanding and agreement; who make us exhale an “it’s not just me;” when we can reflect and remember together those life milestones and share similar experiences – it’s in those moments we feel connected to others.
And that is the beauty we share in the Xenia Box mantra “It’s about the message” when we discuss gifting. Because in both sharing our life journey and conveying a special message with a gift, we expose our humanity and re-connect on a personal level in a world that’s put a lighted screen between each one of us.
Here I am today.
TWO PARALLEL JOURNEYS
One year ago this month, Xenia Box was delivered to the world. Also in April of 2021, with my husband and other two sons, I took my oldest son to visit both West Point in New York and the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
It was very clear my premonition and hard gut instinct that 2021 was going to be life-changing was spot on.
TWO BIG CHANGES
To ready myself to become a mom releasing her first born, not just away to college but also to the Navy, I took every mental snapshot of every moment that remained with him in our home and zip code. I felt the sadness of the looming loss of his daily presence; yet was more overwhelmed with pride in him and his achievement.
On the other hand, to ready myself for going into the e-commerce business, I followed sage wisdom:
“Find someone who’s done what you want to do and learn.”
Well, I drank from their fire hoses of knowledge like I’d traveled a desert under the blazing sun for a year.
I donned blinders like I was running the Kentucky Derby.
“Find inspiration and motivation every day to keep going.”
I consumed sound-bites and quotes that lit me up inside to keep the fire burning.
Some penetrated the mental barriers I’d erected from recent “burns.” I carry, play on repeat, and need to feel these in my soul every day:
- "Learn to suck at something new".
- “Fear is a Liar”
- “Burn the Boats”
- “Keep. F*k&g. Going.”
On April 22nd, I pressed “Live” on XeniaBox.com and went through a roller coaster of emotions not unlike giving birth to a child – excitement, fear, relief, and pressure.
Exactly one week later on April 29th, I purchased a one-way ticket for my first born. Unlike with my steady and laser-focused preparation to launch my first e-commerce business, in this instance I was completely unprepared for the onslaught of emotion that would crash over me like a tsunami when I hit “book” to complete the ticket purchase.
The first “button push” was “OK, Let’s DO This!”
The second “button push” was “Oh my God, what have I done?!”
With the clashing emotions of both experiences raging inside of me, I breathed through them like a laboring mother doing Lamaze to embrace the enormous changes that these events presented to our family.
I looked upon my oldest son, and realized that I had reached my first moment where the teacher (in this case the parent - me) becomes the student. Driven and focused, my son was stepping out of our home into the journey of the person he is to become. And he was doing it so bravely, out into “the wild,” the unknown, and on his own away from us. He chose to do what is hard.
That moment of reckoning for me was a reminder to buck up, be brave, put on my game face, and forge ahead in both of these new realities and lifestyles: The mom of a United States Naval Academy Midshipman and the creator and owner of my own business.
TWO NEW WORLDS
These two titles, now each nearly one year old, have exposed me to new worlds:
In the first, I witness the beauty and bravery of American sons and daughters as they push, persevere and face unimaginable challenges with “Bring It” attitudes while also pursuing four-year degrees, shaping themselves into leaders with a tenacity I struggle to fathom. And I thought I was a pretty driven young person.
In the second, I glance frequently to the first to remind myself what real resolute and dogged purpose looks like, how it behaves and Keeps. F*k%g. Going. And within the second new world, too, also known as the e-commerce business, are examples of diligence and determination to create and test and pivot and succeed, and then rinse and repeat.
THE BLESSING & LESSONS
Here I am on the back half of my Forties, intentionally placing myself back in the classroom that feels like a baptism by fire. I’ve always told my sons, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you need to find another room.” I’m walking that walk right now, and I likely won’t be leaving this room anytime soon!
I’m learning a lot about this industry and still have a long way to go. I, like my son, am experiencing my own metamorphosis.
Always an ‘A’ student, I’ve learned that imperfect action trumps no action every time; that C’s get degrees, too; and that the journey to “success” is not only not a sprint, it’s also not a destination. Oh, and I’ve learned to really give myself grace – not just in theory, but in practice.
Heavy as much of that may sound, I’ve had a LOT of fun along this 12-month-way, too. And I am very excited to discover more about our Xenia Box path.
We are actively stepping into our mission of creating joy through the gift message. It’s an important and magical piece that gets lost in the rush to buy and the push to sell when it comes to gifts. It’s our mission to change that and make gifting feel good and spirit-lifting again.
Stay tuned. We’re stepping it up this month!