Deep Dive: Why I Keep Trying

Believe me, I've seriously considered giving up a number of times. The closest I came was about six months ago, when I'd hit a really low spot and someone expressed an interest in buying the property, complete with half-finished house. Had they followed through with a genuine offer, my story might have abruptly ended 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—now going on 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 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 remains very nearly inconceivable.

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 it will be more than worth the effort, 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.

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