Today we closed up our trailer. Our little summer home that we have enjoyed immensely for the last five years. It was actually snowing when we awoke this morning and the weird snow-shower-sunny-rainy morning continued as we packed away deck furniture, loaded up linens and did the end-of-season dance known to those of us lucky enough to own a piece of seasonal paradise.
Then we drove home.
It took twenty minutes.
Yes, our new home is just across the peninsula on another body of beautiful water, with a magnificent and ever-changing view that we enjoy daily.
Yes, as Ontario folks near and far are closing down for the winter, we actually live in our cottage. Like, full-time.
This was not a fluke or happy coincidence. When I was a kid my father built our first summer shack and it immediately became my favourite place in the world. There was no plumbing, no indoor toilet, no ceiling (just a big cathedral roof and dividers with curtains between the bedrooms) and no heat, save for a small, black wood-burning fireplace. There were mice and spiders and giant moths and bats. It was glorious.
During my (misspent) teenage years, the idea started to percolate in my beer-soaked brain that living in a cottage would be wonderful. That chill, woodsy vibe suited me just fine. Naturally indoor plumbing was factored in (as was – much later – a dishwasher, laundry facilities and a soaker tub) but I already knew by the time I was 17 that I wanted to live by the water in a cottage. A “cottagey” home.
And here I am. Here we are.
Living the dream.
And that, my friends, is the point. You can dream all you want. And we should. But it is vital that we pursue those dreams with (realistic) zeal! Plan the work and then work the plan. Figure out a way to live your adventure every single day.
Back in my 40s, when I was living my ex-husband’s dream, I was already planning our next adventure when we were flying off to our current one. It drove him crazy (and rightfully so). But even though my life – on the outside – looked pretty damn cushy, it was a life I needed to escape from.
Eventually I did. That is when I learned that no matter how hard you dream and how hard you work at achieving that dream, you don’t always get the dream you thought you wanted. Fair enough. Well, not really, but hey, it’s life, right?
But the one thing I NEVER gave up on was the desire to not only escape to my great adventure but to actually LIVE my great adventure. Day in, day out. And please understand when I say “adventure” I mean REALISTIC adventure. Lake Como with George Clooney didn’t happen (why?) and Malibu in a beach house didn’t happen either.
What happened was Lake Huron with a view (not waterfront) with a scientist cum/handyman. He didn’t win the Nobel, my book didn’t hit any bestseller list and we sure as heck can’t afford waterfront. But I can assure you we are LIVING the adventure every day. Covid hasn’t impacted our mental health the way it has so many BECAUSE we are living our adventure every day. We have no need to escape. We are okay with hunkering down. We are even looking forward to whatever the winter months will throw at us.
I know we are fortunate. Some would say lucky.
I say we planned our work and worked our plan. We adapted when things went sideways and we were open and available to new or shall we say “altered” dreams. We wanted water and a cottage to call home. Everything else was negotiable.
This past summer, when we sold our previous house and hadn’t found that dream home I so coveted, I started to get a little worried. Then I widened my lens, looked further afield than my dream may have dictated and discovered this place. The moment we walked in I was thunderstruck. It was wood, wood and more wood. Wood walls and wood ceilings and wood shelves and wood floors and wood doors and WOOD.
“Well,” thought I, “we’ll just paint some of this wood, won’t we?”
And then it hit me.
THIS was my cottage. This was my dream. This was not some suburban home transplanted to the shores of a great lake nor was it some glorified mansion built to look “rustic” but in reality was a glorified mansion.
This unexpected house was my cottage/home.
It was our next great adventure.
It is now our current adventure. I know we are fortunate. I know there are so many who struggle to make ends meet daily and adventure is the last thing on their list of priorities.
I also know that if you don’t know WHAT your adventure is, you’ll never find it. If you haven’t dreamed it, wanted it, willed it, worked towards it … well, how can it ever happen?
Don’t let it fade. All that youthful exuberance, faith and lust for adventure, don’t let it die.
Then plan you work and work the plan to get that damn dream fulfilled.
Live the adventure.
Every. Single. Day.
p.s. The trailer is still for sale.