What Keeps Us Moving


Yesterday, our dear friend, Yvonne, asked “What’s the secret sauce that enables you to keep things going?”

I thought that was a great question, because I literally ask myself the same question every day.

My initial response to her was, “right now, after half a bottle of red, as I swing gently in the hammock… I’d have to say it takes some ignorance…meaning, you really don’t know what it takes until you try.”

This is such a wide-open and new experience for us that the landscape is continually inviting us to use our imagination. So, often Chelsea and I come up with ideas or solutions to sudden problems and we just have to put our heads down and push forward. There are so many things that need to be addressed, taken care of or fixed and/or adjusted that there isn’t a lot leeway. Thus, the strategy is often - just keep swimming…

Likewise, the mere invitation to “just imagine” all the possibilities is invigorating. I was regaling to my father-in-law on the way back from the dump yesterday the grander plans of growing succulents on our land: cactus and and cactus pears, agave, and aloe vera, all which are edible or have medicinal and healing properties, not to mention the sweet-toxicity of Mezcal or tequila. So, in addition to perseverance, I would add “keeping your eye on the prize” to the secret sauce.

Every time I’m in the shed I see something that makes me think, “I can’t wait to have the time to use or do that again.” Yesterday, it was the cache of fishing poles and tackle boxes that Santa brought six months ago. So, once again my response was a sigh and resignation, coupled with a longstanding belief and practice in deferred gratification.

Then there’s the requisite mental and emotional flexibility, which is usually best managed with a sigh and an “okay,” because over the last few months, if not the last year and a half, there have been a thousand instances where we had to suddenly drop what we’re doing and are in the middle of and we’re fully intending to finish in one fell swoop - to focus on something else, which someone else felt was more urgent.

A great example is that the contractor working on our floors, showed up with a full crew of four to remedy the fact that we’ve been “doing our floors” for three weeks now. Subsequently, we had to suddenly move all the furniture and boxes to half of the house, so they could apply a new coat of polyurethane, because the original two coats with stain didn’t stick. Ugh, sigh, “okay, let’s get it done.”

Then there’s all the amazing people that have helped us along the way: our family, our friends and all the new neighbors that have offered us support, resources, advice and encouragement. Knowing that we’re not alone on this fantastic journey is the sort of insight that keeps our boat afloat and moving toward the horizon.

And finally, I would add that the challenge and acceptance that we are living every single day outside our comfort zone is exciting, because not only are we learning an extraordinary amount (about lizards and swamp coolers, fuse boxes, chicken coops, and soil health and permaculture farming and land preservation…), which ultimately we fully believe will extend our lives, but we’re also having the adventure of a lifetime! Hard work has never been so fun.

Post-script: I would add that a forced respite on occasion, is also important. If not a full night’s rest, a few minutes lying in the hammock and a sip of wine are divine and necessary interventions to the drive that keeps us going.

PPS: Having little to no furniture to sit on and relax also helps you keep moving.