If you read my UPDATE today, this post may confuse you. Just know that I AM in good spirits — honest. I am looking forward to the future again. I’m just in a bit of a ‘complicated’ place and I felt I should explain. Keep reading and, hopefully, you’ll understand. Thanks 🙂
If you read JOE’S CORNER, I am just going to assume that you are among those who actually count themselves as my friend. As my friend, this post is addressed to you. However, as my friend, I fell I should warn you: this post is not going to be one of those ‘happy-happy, joy-joy’ sort of posts. This will be more like one of those talks you have with a friend who is struggling to recover from a profound change in their life — because I am.
There is no sense trying to sugar-coat this: the events of the past year have changed me. Before hurricane Michael, I would have thought I was largely immune to such things. I would have understood how others might have had their lives changed by a natural disaster, but I would not have believed it would have had much of an affect on me. I was wrong.
The process of recovering from hurricane Michael has changed my priorities. Most of what I used to care about before the storm no longer matters to me. And, yes, this includes modeling, and even TMD. But do not despair. TMD isn’t going anywhere — not yet, anyway. I still plan to be in operation for the foreseeable future.
Now, it’s time to be totally open and honest with you. Even before the hurricane hit us, I had started slipping into that familiar cycle of burn-out. Industry insiders will understand the struggle: it’s just part of how things go for those of us who run our own, one-man operations. For me, it was connected to the strain of trying to do all the work I need to do around here that does not generate the capital necessary to keep TMD running. I need to re-work all of our instruction sheets and the file cabinets where they used to be stored before I sold the company to my brother! I also need to clean up all of our packing headers and, if possible, find a way to start using them again. Then there are all the changes to the web store that still need to be made. Finally, I have drawers full of things that need to be filed away where they belong. In some cases, these things have never been put away properly. Some of this stuff has been sitting in drawers for over ten, even fifteen years!
Next up: I have been starting to struggle with the loss of my hobby. I have not built a completed model since I started TMD, and I miss the satisfaction of a finished model. I also miss the comradery involved with taking completed models to the shows. I want to be a modeler again, but this is very difficult to do when your sole income is generated from producing new resin products every couple weeks. Instead of being free to build what I want to build, I end up working on things you folks want, or things I believe you can use in your hobby. Now, don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy the work, but it isn’t the same thing. It isn’t modeling, and I miss modeling.
Finally, I have to face a very real reality. My eyes are not going to allow me to do this job for much longer. At the current rate of decay, I figure I have another three years — tops. After that, while I might still be able to see well enough to build for myself, I will not be able to see well enough to operate the company. I will be able to model under very bright lights, without my glasses, and with my work literally in my face. But I cannot work under those conditions. So, sadly, I have to face the fact that the end of TMD’s is finally on the near horizon.
It should go without saying that all of this has had an affect on me. After all, July 2000 will mark twenty years in the resin industry. That is a big junk of anyone’s life, and I am very grateful to all of you, and even more so to the Lord. I have been extremely blessed to have managed to do this for a living. I am also very humbled by the number of you who have bought my products and — more importantly — I am grateful for all of you who I have come to think of as genuine friends. All-in-all, I have lived a dream that many other modelers would give a great deal to be able to live themselves. The problem for me is that I am not ready to let it all go — not yet.
I suppose a lot of this is connected to my age, and the changes we all encounter when we start to realize that the years ahead of us are far fewer than those behind us. Just like my feeling of burn-out, I had started to reflect on my life before the storm hit us. The hurricane just accelerated the process. I now find that I have little time for people who squabble over things that really do not matter. Sadly, however, that seems to be a large part of what modeling has become (at least on line, anyway). This saddens me, because it means one of the few things I have left that I used to think of as a friendly refuge may no longer be a refuge at all. And, if that’s the case, why should I bother? For a man who wants to spend the rest of his life trying to do good and help others and work on making strong, positive relationships, modeling now seems like nothing but poison.
All together, these are the things behind the decision I am now going to share with you. I do not know how long it will take before this happens, but: the next time I start feeling burned out, or when my eyes finally fail me — whichever comes first — I am going to shut down the company. I’m tired of the struggle. It’s just not worth it — not anymore.
Now that I’ve given you the bad news, let me end with some good news. I am not ready to give up — not yet. I still love all of you, and I have gown even more grateful for the privilege of being able to serve you — even if all I do is help you with your leisure time. My outlook may have changed, but this change is also driving me to make sure the next few years are my best. I have a new-found drive to do my absolute best for all of you. I also have some promises I still need to keep, which means I’ll be working on some long over-due goodies that you might just enjoy, yourself. So, for however long I have left, I am going to do just this: I am going to work as hard as I can to make sure that, when the time comes that I can no longer do what I do, TMD will go out at the very top of this industry, with a solid reputation for quality and service, and without owing anything to anyone.
OK, that it: I’m spoke my piece. You know my plans, so we will never pass this way again. I will not speak about my personal struggles again until it is time to say good-bye. When that time comes, I’ll let you know what it is that is finally pushing me out of the business and I’ll wish you well. But, until that time comes, let’s enjoy what time TMD has left.
Thanks for reading this, and for being my friend and a customer of TMD. Stay safe out there.