What Kept Me Going

Believe me, I'd seriously considered giving up a number of times. The closest I came was sometime in 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 I hung in there, living in eternal hope of a turnaround and a chance to finish my dream. What kept me going?

My Family

I was committed to giving my cats the very best home that I could. It pained me having to keep them in a camping trailer—for over three years, no less. (That said, it was infinitely better than any kennel or shelter since, among other things, I had access to them 24/7.)

Now, one might argue that, had I given up, I'd have betrayed my family. Not so; I'd simply have shifted my focus to a different solution with the same goal: a good home for my kids and me.

I Genuinely Love This Place

Nearly every day I'll wander the property, usually with camera in hand, and I'll feel at peace; being here is a most effective tranquilizer. 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 easily forget where I am. The most ordinary things here—like the changing seasons—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. I have future plans for features such as natural gardens and shelters to draw in more wildlife and make it a haven for insects, birds and other plants and animals.

It Feels Ultimately Worthwhile

It's difficult to articulate, but I had a sense deep in my bones that, once it was finished, it would be more than worth the effort, as challenging as it's been, with unanticipated rewards still awaiting me. I've no clue what these may look like, or even if they'd exist, but the thought helped keep me going—that, and being so close to my goal. I'd sit here for hours and pretend it's done:

Did I have any regrets? I'd be lying if I said no. I've regretted what sort of house I've built, and even attempting to build my own home at all. Still, I've always felt that, of all possible human emotions, regret is the most self-injurious, so I've tried my best to keep regrets at bay—although when a single issue has dragged on for over three years, that became mighty hard to do.

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