Loss Can Become So much Gain

I always stay too long at the party. When I love something it’s nearly impossible for me to leave willingly, even when I know it’s time.  This has been the case with many parts of my life, career and on every dance floor.

In May 2018 I received a call and was subsequently eliminated from my job due to a corporate restructure. This translated to me as: “you’re eliminated from your community and the job you have loved deeply for 12 years”. I loved the customer for whom I worked tirelessly, I loved my team, and I loved most of the people I worked with every day. It was a dream job for many years until it wasn’t. 

Harder than figuring out your first dream can be figuring out your next dream. How do you top a job you actually loved? It’s hard enough to find that once, but to find it again almost seems greedy. I needed to do two things: go back to my roots and make something out of nothing. These two thoughts repeated over and over again in my head in the months that followed.

My roots can be summed up by three things: art, decorating, and treasure hunting. By the age of eight, I was spending endless amounts of time floor planning and organizing cabinets. Every season I insisted on a “pillow refresh” in the living room and I was constantly re-working the limited wall pieces we owned. In between these endeavors, my favorite activities consisted of tag sales with my grandparents and thrift stores where I would eagerly anticipate finding one or two treasures that could transform or “elevate the apartment”. In hindsight, it was early boot camp and training for my styling eyes and sensibilities. 

After losing my job, I filled my time by going back to these fundamentals; I became a regular on the vintage circuit in town. Subsequently, I had requests floating in for help with decorating and eventually staging homes in the area. I started Artful Styling, which led to many projects that not only paid me, but also allowed me to exercise two traits to the fullest: decorating and treasure hunting. In hindsight, this entrepreneurial experience (aka scrappy phase) helped me to re-build my confidence. 

This experience also pushed me to recognize my fear of going back to a corporate job. Every time I attempted to post my resume and portfolio on Linkedin, a knot would form in my stomach, and I’d close my laptop.

And then, the opportunity of a lifetime occurred; a beautiful shop space became available for rent and it screamed “plant and flower shop” to my heart from a mile away.  My husband, a third-generation florist, and painter was also seeking a fresh start. For a long time, my intuition was rusty, but it had returned when it mattered. I had re-calibrated my mind, body, and soul and I could hear the call loud and clear. A flower shop was our destiny and I could feel this truth in every fiber of my being. 

Fast forward through many layers of moral support, paperwork, procedure, and financial anxiety, the shop, Walter Pine, became a reality. My resume and portfolio I couldn’t bear to post on Linkedin came in handy by helping us secure a loan from the bank, and we were able to take this giant leap (and financial risk) together. Exactly one year and four months from the most significant professional loss I could fathom, I opened the doors to a new vision; I have already gained more than I could have ever imagined. We are now creating an environment (and brand) that brings joy to us, to others, and we have the power to ensure that joy will never go away. Every single day customers thank us for opening our shop! It’s hard work, but it’s ours, and I couldn’t be happier.

This dream surpasses the last dream and has reminded me that life is made up of many dreams if you dare to let the universe have its way. The world won’t call you greedy; it will thank you. When we’re aligned with our destiny the path becomes clear and the doors will open.    

All contributors are asked a few questions when they submit their story of recreation. Here are a few of Christina’s responses.

  • TR: What brings you Joy?
  • CC: dancing, laughing, treasure hunting, color stories, beautiful nature
  • TR: How do you practice self-care?
  • CC: Allowing myself a few hours or full day each week when I can lose space and time is important for my wellbeing. I used to feel guilty about my need for breaks from a clock or from managing time, but through self-acceptance, I’ve realized this feels good on my brain and fuels my creative center. A break is never “time wasted” but rather a responsible mental and emotional care tactic.
  • TR: What are you currently reading?
  • CC: I’m in between books at the moment, but I will always be a diligent reader of interior magazines like Elle Decoration (UK), World of Interiors and Domino. Note: I still like the feeling of a physical magazine. No digital versions here! 🙂
  • TR: Tell me about a travel experience that had an impact on your soul.
  • CC: Every travel experience seems to impact my soul. There is something about removing oneself from familiarity that opens the eyes, ears, and heart to their full potential. Inevitably this impacts me deeply and creatively. I tend to see my life with greater clarity and feel inspired while taking in new cultures, history, and light of a place — a few favorite cities: Florence, Seville, Paris, London, LA, and Hudson.

Christina and her husband, David, live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Walter Pine Floral Studio is located at 740 South 4th Street. Do you need to reach them? Please send a note to hello@walterpine.com.

All photos are credited to Kate Raines of Plate 3.

The community page will be a recurring page on The Recreated. Interested in sharing your story? Please send a note to me here. xo