In Pursuit of Eudaimonia

January 24, 2019

by Gracia Ventus

It's 6 AM and I've been awake for two hours, again. I sat up in bed and opened up my laptop. My fat ginger cat got up from the foot of the bed and sauntered over to me, putting one paw on my arm to indicate his intent on climbing up to my lap. And so there I was, typing these words with a purring furry friend headbutting my chin gently, half blocking my view.

There are very few little pleasures to be found in life these days. But if it happens at 6 AM, I'll take what I can get; the company of an unruly feline, the sound of rain, a passage in a Murakami novel that stirs deep melancholy.

I have come to realise that being an entrepreneur is a very lonely life. It's not dependent on the frequency of social interactions, but how little everyone around you truly comprehends the trials and tribulations that come with the territory; the limitations of what one person can do in any given day, the helplessness when situations spiral out of my control, the anxiety that stems from not knowing what I don't know, mistakes to apologise for and fix when they happen no matter how hard I try to look out for them, the physical toll that manifests from mental stress, the prolonged fatigue that eventually saps away my mental energy, the inevitable slide into depression with no help in sight.

Every person's battles are different. It's what makes us unable to truly understand other people. I could talk to other entrepreneurs, and perhaps find that they too share some aspects of this hardship, but no one has the same exact experiences. The path to complete and utter empathy of each others' plights are - let's face it - probably non-existent.

Though happiness seems to be far from my grasp at this point, I take solace in finding a sense of fulfilment whenever I channel my creativity into making clothes, especially the kind that make people happy when they wear them.

ROSEN 2019

ROSEN 2019 collection, coming soon


4 thoughts on “In Pursuit of Eudaimonia

  • Aidan

    by Aidan on January 25, 2019 at 5:04 am

    It seems your unhappiness is more brought on by your isolation from other people than it is fatigue from overwork, given that you’re passionate about it. I feel like your perception of true empathy is a little fatalistic. Yes, we can never fully understand someone else’s perspective as we haven’t lived their exact experiences, but I don’t think that can stop folks from achieving meaningful connection if each person is committed to communicating and listening in turn. Are most of the people in your social / professional circle entrepreneurs themselves? Perhaps this is why you feel the disconnect more than not being able to empathize; if they’re as connected to the development and understanding of their craft as you seem to be, then there’s simply no time for anyone to make the effort at basic human connection.

    • Gracia Ventus

      by Gracia Ventus on January 25, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Thank you for taking the time to read. As I’ve outlined above, my unhappiness stems from stress-induced depression, working 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week, with work that takes time away from creativity. I do everything from design, to administrative work, to accounting, to customer service and order fulfilment. My office space is filled with entrepreneurs – everyone’s business models are different – noone truly has the time to understand circumstances that are wildly different from theirs. Having to explain my situations over and over is frankly a chore, only to be given paternalistic advice that is irrelevant. I do not lack social interactions. If anything I enjoy solitude and prefer to have my close knit group of friends rather than a big social circle.

  • Frederic Pedersen

    by Frederic Pedersen on January 25, 2019 at 6:20 am

    I don’t know if you know Alan Watts, but I listened to his lectures every day while I was biking through the city in the freezing morning and evening temperatures. He often talks about zen philosophy and the concept that you cannot make mistakes, in the same way that stars that shine in the sky cannot make mistakes in shining in the sky – but it might be possible in their own ‘game’ however. In the same way we all have a game that we play in which we’re wary to make mistakes. But to take a bigger perspective on life through zen, you become able to always take a sort of humorous approach to any situation. Watts details this story: A zen master was visiting a tea house, and there was a pretty geisha girl serving the guests who had such grace and elegance that he suspected she must have some sort of training. So as she was filling his sake cup, he said to her ‘I’d like to give you a gift.’ He took the long iron chopsticks used to turn the coals in the brazier, and picked up a hot piece of coal and handed it to her. She was wearing a long-sleeved kimono, and whirled her sleeves around her hands, accepting the burning coal, bowing gracefully and retreating to the kitchen. Upon returning, she had changed her kimono because the sleeves were burned through, and after a suitable interval she said to the master ‘I’d like to give you sir, a gift.’
    She took with the iron chopsticks a burning piece of coal, and as she was handing it to the master, he immediately produced a cigarette and said ‘Thank you that’s just what I needed.’ The point of this story is what I mentioned in that you take a humorous approach to every situation. That, as you cannot make a mistake, you are always led to a point where it is possible for you to find that genuine surprise that life is hiding, provided you look for it and grab it.
    I’m hoping perhaps to cheer you up, a little, if possible. In any case, someone’s still listening.
    Regards, Frederic

    • Gracia Ventus

      by Gracia Ventus on January 25, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Thank you for the story Frederic, and for taking the time to understand where I’m coming from. I am sensing that the zen master is a bit of a humorous prick. Humour is something that I forgot about in a whirlwind of to-do lists. It was just recently too that I remember about Seneca. Humour and that ‘what’s the worse that could happen’ might just be the key to weathering unexpected mishaps.


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