Alone at NWC

Originally published here.

Back when NWC first started almost two years ago, there used to be a lot of nights where I was the last person in the space after everyone else had gone home.

Lately, with so many more members and so many more events and things going on, it’s rare for me to the the last person out the door.

Tonight, after wrapping up a successful Girl Develop IT class, I find myself alone in my new space for the first time in a long time.

The stage is set for tomorrow, the chairs and desks having been returned to their appropriate spots. In 12 hours, the space will be humming with people, building and talking excitedly.

But tonight, everything sits still in peace and silence.

Little imperfections could keep me here forever, as there’s always a chair to straighten or a tabletop to be wiped down.

Not too long from now, we’ll probably hire someone to manage the space. I’ll be freed up to focus on the bigger business stuff, and I’ll likely be spending less time rearranging furniture late at night.

As nice as that will be, I can’t help but feel like there’s a value in getting one’s hands dirty.

I wonder what it would be like to start a coworking space without having to do any of the grunt work. If you had the money right away to hire people to do all of the little things, I wonder whether you’d ever be able to fully appreciate the intricacies of every detail that make a place like this so special?

Either way, I try to take pride in having done a little bit of everything along the way.

There’s an irrational part of my mind that never wants to go home. If it had its way, I’d stop time right now and build everything I’ve ever wanted to build in the space, all at once, right now.

But that’s never going to happen, nor should it. Every day, I’ll do something to make this place a little better. It’ll evolve over time, and when I look back at it a year from now, I’ll see something which all of us carefully sculpted each day as we went.

My own personal giant bonsai tree.

I must be better with coworking spaces than with bonsai trees, because I could never keep the latter alive for two whole years. Perhaps it doesn’t hurt that, with coworking spaces, I’m only one of many people tending to it every day.

This place is nice. It’ll keep getting nicer. Then we’ll see about other places.

But for tonight, for now, my work here is done.

Time to take it all in for a moment while the coast is clear. Who knows how long it will be until I’m alone here again?