(I’ve been holding off on posting something like this. I started this blog several weeks ago and never finished it. It’s a topic that has become somewhat trendy lately, and the last thing I want is to look like I’m just trying to jump on a trend)
I’ve seen several people posting on this topic lately, and I thought I would throw my two cents in. I hate anxiety. It’s a disease. It’s very hard to do anything about it either. It’s not something that can be easily treated, because usually when it is hurting you the most, there’s nobody around to help you through it.
I first experienced true anxiety during my last year of high school. The summer between my Junior and Senior year in high school I was diagnosed with something called a Chiari I malformation. It’s essentially a condition where your brain (the cerebellum) protrudes outside the base of your skull further than it is supposed to. My brain was protruding out of my skull past twice the normal length.
The cerebellum is the part of the brain that controls all of the automatics of the body such as breathing and heart beat. I had brain surgery and everything went fine, but the whole situation freaked me out. Every time I started to get a head ache, I freaked out. Every now and then I would have a hard time breathing and I would freak out. My chest would get tight, which would make it even harder to breath, which would make me freak out even more. It was like a very large person was sitting on my chest and gradually squeezing all of the air out of my body.
Now I’m a computer programmer and I own a small brewery. I’m not worried about the brain condition I had any more, but I’ve never been able to shake the grips of anxiety. I just have different things to be anxious about.
I made a post a couple posts ago about how overly ambitious I am. That is very true! I am uncontrollably ambitious, BUT, I’m also crazy self conscious about my abilities to do things, about my ability to accomplish the things that I want to accomplish.
I ran into a lot of road blocks on my way into opening my current brewpub. I wish nothing more than to have a successful brewery that I can turn into a full time job, but every road block on the way felt like it could be the one to completely derail me.
Breweries like Stone, Dogfish Head, and 3 Flloyds…they were my inspiration on wanting to open my own place. I saw what they were doing, and how freaking cool it was, and I wanted to do it as well. Now, I still want to do the same thing, but anxiety being the jerk it is, is always telling me that you’re not good enough to do this thing you want to do. You’ll never be able to make beer as good as those breweries that you look up to.
This is my second attempt at opening a brewpub. The first time was an attempt at partnering with an already existing restaurant. It didn’t work. That killed my self esteem. I, naively, thought that if I was ever actually able to get things up and running that it would automatically be successful.
I am doing my own thing now, but that doubt is still there. I picked a great time and a horrible time to open a business in this town. It’s great in that business is somewhat slow so we have time to establish our policies and get everything running the way it should be. It’s horrible because half of the town empties out during the summer and we’re incredibly slow at times.
(I thought it might help to explain why half the town empties out during the Summer. Jacksonville is a very small town as it is, but it’s also a college town. The students go home during the Summer and the professors go on vacation. The teachers of the local schools go on vacation. It basically leads to a situation where there aren’t many people in town during the Summer)
It’s hard to be away from the brewery on nights that we’re open. I know my presence isn’t going to magically make people show up, but I feel powerless. It goes both ways though. I feel powerless when I’m at the brewery and nobody shows up. It seems that no matter what I do, anxiety somehow finds a way to rear it’s ugly head.
It really all is beyond worth it though. All of the anxiety, all of the frustration, all of the stress, it’s all worth it. Very few things can match the feeling I get when I see somebody enjoy my beer. It makes me think, “Hey, don’t listen to anxiety. You are good enough to do this! You will succeed at doing this! It may take some time, but in the long run it will be better than anybody could have ever imagined that it would be.”
That’s what I want more than anything. Anxiety sucks, it’s a real thing, and a lot of people battle with it without saying anything. So I’m going to do this thing, and it’s going to be amazing! F you anxiety! Yay me! 😉
(Edit: If you have any interest in knowing, my brewery is in Jacksonville, AL and it’s called Joe Beer, Hand Crafted Ales. Right now the only page we have is our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/JoeBeerHandCraftedAles)