Sometimes you just have to change course.
Though in the case of my life, “sometimes” apparently means often.
Shortly after my son was born my husband and I (who were both in school AGAIN trying to get degrees in subjects that can actually get us jobs — random tangent: I was reading in my New Yorker magazine an article about Stanford and in the article a number of humanities professors were lamenting the fact that most students flock to the fields of engineering and business because they’re more concerned about making money than learning for learning’s sake. I have an English degree. My husband has a history degree. We both greatly enjoyed these subjects and we are both people who enjoy learning for learning’s sake. But we also enjoy being able to feed ourselves. If our society wants students to learn for learning’s sake, then it’s time to make it possible for history and English majors to get jobs that don’t involve the words, “Would you like fries with that?”) came to the conclusion that we needed to be done with school, degrees achieved or no, and have a steady income to provide for our child. We also decided that those jobs would need to be something we truly enjoy so we aren’t jumping from job to job, location to location as we had been for years. And if we couldn’t find jobs, what was stopping us from making them? So we sat down with a notebook and a pen and started dreaming. What did we dream about? A brewery and a farm.
Then we decided to make those dreams a reality.
So for months now, Shawn and I have been deep in planning to establish a brewery. We’ve got an entire shelf on the bookshelf full of brewing books and books about running a small business. Let me tell you, friends, who knew yeast could be so fascinating! We drafted a business plan, drew up a cash flow statement, got scads of quotes for everything from fermenters to hardwood floors, and even scaled back the dream in order to make it a reality. And we’re really lucky, too, that my father is acting as our patron to help us get started.
But those months of hard work (there is a reason few people start their own businesses… the paperwork alone is enough to scare anyone off) have paid off and we’re inching closer to achieving this thing we dared to imagine. We moved a few weeks ago to be closer to where we’re planning to open the brewery and to return to an area we love.
But why did we decide to start a brewery? Well, we both love beer, and isn’t that why breweries are started? Of course, there’s a whole lot more involved in running a brewery than drinking beer, but at the heart of it is helping people have a good time in each other’s company, and we love that we can facilitate that happiness. We also decided on a brewery because it’s something we’re good at, making beer. We just bottled a sweet stout that we working on perfecting and dang, it’s good. We also decided to start a brewery because Montana has a strong brewery culture and the area where we are now living has a lot of people who identify with that culture.
But what about the farm? Well, that part is a few years down the road. But the goal is to someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) grow our own hops, potentially barley (THAT is an involved process and I may leave it to the experts), and establish our own yeast colony or two. But come hell or high water, I will have that farm someday. In the meantime I’ll have a great garden, but the farm will come.
But truly the point of this post is this: Dream big. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you dream big, you can achieve those dreams with a little planning and a lot of work. And we know we have a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in our future, but in the meantime, we have these dreams and they are sweet.