Deep Dive: Why I Keep Trying

Believe me, I've seriously considered giving up a number of times. The closest I came was around spring 2017, when I'd hit a really low spot and someone expressed an interest in buying the property, complete with the half-finished house. Had they followed through with a genuine offer, my story might have abruptly ended right then and there. But here I am—still—living in eternal hope of a turnaround and a chance to finish my dream. Why do I keep struggling?

1. My cats. I'm committed to giving them the very best home that I can. It pains me having to keep them in a camping trailer—for over three years. (That said, it's infinitely better than any kennel.)

2. I genuinely love this place. Nearly every day I'll wander the property—usually with camera in hand—and I'll feel at peace; it's the most effective tranquilizer I've known. Never mind that it's smack in the middle of the most densely populated state in the country; the trees don't know this, and standing among them, I can forget where I am. The most ordinary things here seem extraordinary to me, and I revel in the opportunity to experience them. That I can do so every day is an awesome thing, and to think such a place actually belongs to me still seems very nearly miraculous.

I'm also a tree-hugging nature-lover, and I'm doing my best to make this a sanctuary for wildlife as much as for me and my cats.

3. It feels ultimately worthwhile. It's difficult to articulate, but I have a sense deep in my bones that, once it's finished, it will be more than worth the effort, as difficult as it's been, with unanticipated rewards awaiting me. I've no clue what these may look like, but the thought helps keep me going—that, and being so close to my goal. I'll sit here for hours and pretend it's done:

Do I have any regrets? I'd be lying if I said no. But I've always felt that, of all possible human emotions, regret is the most self-injurious, so I strive to keep them at bay. Lately that's been very difficult, and therein lies my greatest challenge.

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