The Roundup -

Give It a Year


December 27, 2017 | View PDF

We humans like instant gratification and quick results. Most of us wait impatiently in line, become enraged when we need to queue up to take our turn, and chew viciously at our fingernails waiting for someone else who does not value punctuality and dares to waste our precious time. Couple this desire to see instantaneous results to a huge project that requires everything to fall neatly into place at the proper time, and a person could go insane waiting, worrying and watching.

It’s times like these that a person needs to remember a few words of wisdom and abide by them. These two little thoughts have seen me through some tough and troubled times in my life. The first mantra applies to the big picture: Give it a Year. The second thought achieves the required results by taking small steps that lead to the accomplishment of the big picture: Put one foot in front of the other until you get the job done.

Allow me to explain, please. In August of 2016 my husband and I bought five acres on the side of a mountain. We love the property, we had visions of what we wanted for the location, but we worried about our ability to accomplish all we wanted and live to see the end results. Shortly after we bought the property, we discovered we needed DEQ approval before we could install a septic system. We also knew we had to sell our home in Virginia City before we could move a cabin onto our new property, we needed some sort of temporary building on the five acres so we had a place to live in the interim between selling one house and moving another one on site. In that interval between homes we also needed water, heat to keep us warm, a way to cook food and a method to keep any leftover food, fruits, and produce chilled.

We felt overwhelmed. How in the world would we manage to have this all come together and live to see this little project come to fruition?

I confided my fears to a coworker. That wise woman looked at me and very gently said, “Give it a year.” She went on to explain that events had a habit of working themselves out, and that fretting did no good. Just give it a year and see what all can happen in that time frame.

We did just that. I also reminded myself of the mantra that had seen me through a lot of difficult times: Put one foot in front of the other until you get the job done. I applied this little gem to all the short-term tasks that I needed to accomplish that in turn would lead to the long-term goal of living on the side of the mountain.

I started putting one foot in front of the other to complete smaller tasks. We began clearing brush from the property. We hauled in a prebuilt garage and a prebuilt 12x16 foot building. My husband set about insulating both buildings, installed a wood stove in the garage and a propane heater in the smaller structure, and painted the interior walls of the smaller building so it looked and felt comfortable. We decided that if/when we sold our house, we could sleep in the smaller unit which I already had designated as my future office, and use the garage and its wood stove for cooking and the kitchen area. Through our efforts, by the end of 2016 both structures became livable areas that provided warmth and security from the elements.

In March of 2017 we sold our house in Virginia City. We moved into our two little dwellings on our property, using the smaller one as a bedroom/sitting area, and the garage as the kitchen/all-purpose area.

With the house sold, we could order our cabin. We also proceeded with securing our water supply. In May we obtained DEQ approval for the installation of a septic system. We hired a contractor who installed the system, built us a foundation for the cabin, and completed a few other small but necessary tasks. My husband set up a clothes line for me, we collected wood for the wood stove, built a solar shower, and continued with our brush clearing efforts.

The cabin arrived in July. We got the sewer and water hooked up, we insulated and back filled around the foundation, put up rain spouts, and completed other chores in order to get the cabin winterized.

Before we knew it, September arrived. I thought about the sage advice my friend had given me, to give it a year. When I considered all that we had accomplished in the last twelve months to make our dream come true, I felt truly humbled.

We did it. A little over a year ago I stewed about the ‘what ifs’ and all the logistics involved with ‘how can we do this?’ A year later, we’ve done it all. Putting one foot in front of the other to get the job done got us from point A to point B to point C, culminating in the completion of the project. We completed the little steps we could do at the time, and kept on moving until we reached the other side.

Plans don’t always work out just as we envision them, but putting one foot in front of the other and giving yourself a year to see end results really does accomplish wonders.


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