Now that it’s been a year and a half since I waved a flag to confirm we are in fact still alive and well in our little tent…seemed like an appropriate time to check in again and say…well, something.
I’m not going to sugar coat it – this adventure has been taxing. Demoralizing. Completely humbling and sometimes troubling. We’ve had moments where it felt like it would be far easier to walk away than continue to push forward without a clear vision or deadline for when (or how) we would come to have more than canvas for walls. Amidst all of this, we are perpetually reminded how fortunate and utterly lucky we are to get to choose this path and continue to walk through it.
I’ve often pulled out this dusty old website and thought about writing something…but what? My thoughts throughout the first year of Max’s existence were foggy. The transition to two was amazing…but not always magical and in fact would be better described as terribly difficult at times. Sometimes I found myself deeply sad and regretful of all the things I felt I should be able to provide for my family now. Immediately. Today. That this dream and colossal effort would be insurmountable in ways leaving me feeling as though my best option would be to simply wallow in my emotions versus channeling them into something perhaps more fruitful.
With grass on the ground and tiny goats bouncing through the barn, Isla at an age where she can purposefully scoop up a kid in seconds while Max is still learning the ins and outs of being gentle with all living things…it’s hard to remain down and out.
It’s easier to see the bright side.
That two years on this land has given us so much and there’s little doubt we will ‘win’ in the end (if there is such thing as winning) once we are settled into our humble house built with lumber from our land, milled and constructed by people we know and continue to count on as incredibly valued fellow members of our small community. It’s not that much time, in the grand scheme of things…at least that’s what I’m told by an earnest, far more patient partner of mine in my deepest moments of “why the heck didn’t we just get a condo instead?”.
I know why we didn’t…before anyone feels the urge to explain it to me in the comments. I really do! But when my brain falls into the cavern of doubts that swirl about and consume any hope or confidence I have in my ability to persevere for the sake of the long run…I not so secretly (rather loudly at times) bemoan all the conveniences and amenities we have lived without.
Perhaps more than a few of you will ask…but when will the house be ready? Will you be in by fall?
Maybe. It’s possible. We don’t really know. We hope to be? It depends.
What we do know is that despite the near constant hiccups, occasional financial strain and perpetual triage that is life with small children…we’re happy. We’re committed to this and we’re proud of the fact that this is something we are attempting to pay with cash versus piling on the debt. Even the “good debt” makes us a bit twitchy so both of us feel rather resolute about having not embarked on a construction loan and instead building the house of our dreams that’s just the right size, with just enough space, laid out just the way we want it. Simply. Without fanfair or bank pressure to expand or maximize the space in ways to multiply our resale value.
This is land, this is a home, we intend to keep for the long run. We have cultivated and continue to finance carefully to try to ensure that we never have to walk away from it and can instead continue to call it our home, even if there are things that call us in other directions for short or even longer periods of time. This is our home.
I would like to say I’m sad that I haven’t written. That I wish I had more of a catalog of memories to draw on that help to paint a clear picture of our progress. But I’m not. I’d prefer that the memories of the last year are little tinted with a rose coloured filter that doesn’t shine such a clear light on the bouts of utter despair that sometimes rattled me to the core. That little bit of distance has left me far more humble and appreciative of all we have – and all we hope to be – without dwelling too much on the disappointment, frustration or even devastating moment that worked overtime to convince me that life would end if we didn’t have running water that very minute.
Life hasn’t ended. And we still don’t technically have running water. But we’re surviving just fine and tomorrow will be generous in offering yet another day to make things happen on this journey of delayed gratification we’re fortunate to be on together.
So yes…a year and a half later…we are still…still here. We are still in the tent and we’re staying focused on the long term, without forcing each other to hustle so hard that we lose sight of the moments and memories right in front of us for the savouring. Nothing is worth compromising or completely missing that.