Wednesday, May 04, 2016
On not buying the farm
Our family wasn't looking for a farm. And then the opportunity to purchase a 10 acre property and a fully renovated farmhouse about an hour and fifteen minutes from where we live pretty much fell into our laps.
We'd been talking about our next steps for quite some time, ever since our kids started approaching college age. We knew we weren't going to stay in our current home and in the Boston suburbs forever.
A farm was not something I would ever have dreamed of wanting. I am a self-described 'city mouse'. I lived in Manhattan in my young independent years and it's a city that imprints itself on you. Living in the suburbs was a compromise with my husband (more of a country mouse) and the needs of our family.
But as my life shifted more and more to the life of a writer, the idea of a truly quiet space really began to appeal to me. Now, it had to be in the right area. I needed to be somewhere near a writing/creative community, ideally not far from a college town. In our pipe-dreams, we had settled on the Western MA region, somewhere not far from the Northampton area and the five colleges. That would give my husband his open space and me my connections to culture.
Then a month ago, I got an email. The farmers that run the meat share we belong to were selling a family property and our dream went from theoretical to practical. Long story short, we put in an offer. So did two others.
Yesterday, we found out that the sellers are choosing one of the other offers. And I totally understand why: it's a young couple with several years of farming experience who are ready to start farming the property now. We are a few years away from making the break from where we are. While we would maintain the property - either renting it out or using it as a weekend home/writing workshop space, we weren't ready to commit to it full time.
Am I disappointed? Yes. But here's the interesting thing: I'm not devastated, like I thought I'd be.
Disappointment is a feature (not a bug!) of the creative life. I have been rejected far more often than I have been accepted since I dedicated myself to being a writer. I have learned that so much about 'success' is simply out of my control and that my own abilities are not dependent upon what happens externally.
Honestly, it was far, far harder for me to cope during the several week-long process of waiting for the owners to accept or reject our offer. Living in that liminal state had me anxious and depressed. (I wonder if that's how Schrodinger's cat felt. . . )
Knowing - even if that meant the answer was no - is better than not knowing.
And I don't feel as if this process was in any way wasted. It clarified what my husband and I want in a way that all the daydreaming hadn't. We'll be continuing to look in the Northampton to Worcester region for a small farm property. We're not in any pressured rush and I know we'll find something we love. (And if you know of a place, please let us know!)
So someday we *will* 'buy the farm'. Just not this day. . .