December is always a time of deep reflection for me. The weather turns cold, and I find myself spending more time resting in doors, reading, writing, and thinking. This is especially true here on the farm. Here, the seasons have become even more meaningful to me. Each season has its unique work. As we rushed this past fall to get our farm ready for winter, I found myself looking forward to this season more than ever before because of what it offered.
The gardens are tucked away for the winter, other than a few cold weather plants still working for us. The barn is cozy with hay and straw. Renovations have halted until next year. For now, we simply enjoy the fruits of our labor. We spend time with each other, enjoy our home, catch up on reading, and dream about all that next year will hold.
As I look back on this past year, I am amazed at how many of our dreams came true. It started in the beginning of the year, when my photography business blossomed into everything I had ever wanted for it to be. Then continued when we found out that Brandon’s job would be moving us to Ohio, where we could start the farm we had been dreaming about for two years. Shortly after that, we finalized the adoption of our second beautiful child. Following that, we fulfilled another dream by spending the summer as a full time RV family. While that dream turned out to be an epic failure, at least we did it! I would always rather try and fail than regret never trying at all. Following our RV
misery experience, we began our biggest adventure, by purchasing Benedicite Farms.
Raised bed gardens overflowing with vegetables.
Bare feet on wood floors.
Morning coffee by the fireplace.
Chickens pecking on my windows.
Brothers having childhood adventures on real land.
Family dinners around our farm table.
The farm has fulfilled so many of our little hopes and dreams. But it hasn’t been easy. That is probably a good theme for our whole 2016. Every dream come true has carried a price with it.
Every dream that has come true for us this year has required letting other dreams die. And frankly, I’m not very good at that.
I once had a friend tell me that the reason she was so successful in her field was that she focused on it exclusively. She decided early on that it was better to be phenomenal at one or two things than just decent at many. It obviously worked very well for her, but I’ve never been able to do the same. There are just so many things that I want to do and experience! The world is big and beautiful and full of adventure, and I want to experience as much of it as possible! As a result, I’m a little bit good at a thousand things, and an expert at none. 😉 Sometimes I wish that wasn’t so. Sometimes I wish I had it in me to be really disciplined at one thing.
Why am I blabbering on about all of this?
Because even though I’ve seen so many dreams come true this year, I keep finding myself worrying too much about what is next. We’ve barely even started our farm, and yet I’ve caught myself saying things like, “Well, when we sell it,” or “Well at our next home. . . ” I sometimes find myself wondering if we made a huge mistake, feeling trapped by the responsibility of home ownership. After spending basically our entire adult lives working temporary gigs all over the country, settling down in one place and owning a little piece of the world is both an incredible blessing and a huge weight of responsibility that I’m simply not used to.
I seem to have some serious commitment issues! Or it is a contentment issue? I think the only thing that I’ve ever easily committed to is my husband! I gave my heart to him completely from the beginning, and never looked back. But he has the soul of a gypsy just like I do, so once we found each other there really was no letting go. 😉
I love our farm. It is a dream come true! But having the farm means that we are committed to being here for at least two years, probably more. It means that someone has to be here to take care of the chickens and the gardens, so I can’t just pack up and travel whenever I want. It means that if a job opportunity comes open for us in Ireland or Montana, then we can’t just take it and hit the road. It means that a large chunk of our monthly budget is tied up in our housing/land expenses. It means that if the time comes when we want to move on, it isn’t as simple as putting in a notice a month in advance.
So committing to this farm, even for just a few years, is hard. Harder than I expected, really. I love it. I love the idea of building something real. I love the land. And in case I haven’t mentioned it a million times, I love the food. 😉 But letting go of a hundred other dreams in the pursuit of just one is hard for me.
I know this is a character flaw and something I have to work on. I have so many things for which to be grateful, it is ridiculous to constantly want to move on from them!
Even though I am still not fully comfortable with this feeling of being tied down to a specific place, I’m working on being present in the moment and enjoying the gifts of each day as they come. There are so many beautiful moments each day on the farm that bring me joy, that give me life, that fill me with purpose. So when I start feeling anxious to move on, I just look out my window at the Cardinals that rest in my front trees and smile. Or I take a walk to the fields and listen to the birds chirping and the cows mooing. Or I make myself a cup of tea and curl up in front of the fireplace with my dogs and a good book. I also remind myself that even though this feels more permanent than anything else we’ve ever done, it is still just one season of our lives. If we want to move on in a few years, we can. If we are meant to, we will. Or, we can stay.
And thankfully, we don’t have to make that decision today. 😉