Deadline Detroit

Today is a big big day for me. About 13 months ago, Dave and I were sitting in an Organization Committee meeting for Owosso Main Street. The meeting went along as usual, but something inside me was different, something shifted.

It was about 9 months into my work as Main Street Manager, and on that Wednesday it hit me:

"I don't want to do this job for the rest of my life."


Now, that probably doesn't sound like a huge revelation to you guys.

I mean, the odds of me doing that job for the rest of my life were always very slim.

For me, though, it creates a chain reaction.

If I wasn't going to do it forever, then how long was I going to do it?

How long would I stay? What contribution would I make? When would I leave? How would I leave?

The next week, Dave and I started mulling over those very questions.

The truly incredible bit is that he knew what was coming before I even said anything. He saw me in that meeting, and he knew. He knew what we had to talk about. Ah, the blessings of friendship.

So we talked. We ran through it, discussed the state of the organization. We went up down and all over, talking it through from every angle, for a couple weeks.

And then, one day, it was clear:

I would stay until July 2013.

I would design and document all essential processes of the organization.

I would record them all in the Knowledge Legacy.

And then, I would pass that document the next manager and complete several weeks of training.

At our October Main Street board meeting I discussed it with the board and we approved a contract extension through July 2013, a contract that wasn't intended to be renewed.

It was a little weird, I must say, giving 10 months notice to the board.

I had some interesting conversations with local people:

"You're leaving!? I just heard, when are you leaving?"

"In July."

"Oh, ok, good. Wait ... what now? Why have you already decided?"

I'm egoistic enough still to enjoy having conversations about my decisions that confuse people, so that was fun.

The months passed, and Dave and I talked more and more about what I would do after OMS.

Eventually, around March I think, it crystallized.

I would be done with all my work in Owosso by August 15th.

I would move to Detroit with Bjorn, get a job in a restaurant, and force myself to work myself out of that job. I would force myself to build something - a business, a movement, a community - I would build something that would also support me, something that would slowly take the place of restaurant work.

I gave myself 10 weeks to complete the first part of that transition, the job and the apartment.

10 weeks.

Deadline: November 1st.

And here we are.

I've been moved into my apartment for over a month now, I'm living with Bjorn, and I worked my first two shifts at Great Lakes this week.

It's November 1st. I've accomplished everything I wanted to, and yet, this morning, I woke restlessly.

I'm restless for that last thing, that thing that is the whole point of this move; that business, that movement, that community, that thing I can throw myself into completely.

I want that.

I want to know it. I'm impatient and angsty and a little bit irritated.


Luckily, though, I caught myself. Sometime during mid morning, when I was reading Walter Brueggemann or maybe when I was dancing to folk music in the kitchen, it hit me.

Take this day and celebrate.

Celebrate the moment, celebrate the progress.

And then tomorrow, you may return, if you must, to restlessness and impatience.

Today, though, today - CELEBRATE.


Happy November 1st, everyone :)