Saturday, August 31, 2013

20-minute real estate fantasy

What kind of business would you have if you could have any business you wanted, in a beautiful old barn, right on a gorgeous lake?

Josh and I swam out into Damariscotta Lake, one of my favorite summer swims, and when we came back in we noticed the old barn on its shore is for sale, again. It just sold a couple years ago; I'm not sure what the people planned to do with it—if they always meant to flip it, or if they had big dreams that didn't pan out.

So we decided to buy it for 20 minutes. For 20 minutes, this was our place, and we could do anything we want with it. We'd sell ice cream; we'd rent out canoes; we'd have film and writing studios; we'd have a General Store; fish and tackle. For 20 minutes, we lived upstairs, had a theater company downstairs, rented out artist studio space. For 20 minutes, we woke up in the morning and took long swims out into the middle of the lake, sold alewives from the restoration project across the way. For 20 minutes, we put solar panels on the roof, ice skated in the winter, and figured out how to have a floating garden in the summer.

And after 20 minutes, the fantasy had worked its way out of our systems, and we were just happy to swim in one of my favorite lakes.

So people, it's coming up on a year of doing something daily for my own selfish joy, and writing this blog, and I am starting to give serious consideration to what I need next in my life. 3 years ago, when I started this blog, I needed to feel that my life was expansive, as I approached 50, and so I started doing something every day I had never done before. That year, my writing was very specifically tied to my mussar (Jewish ethics) practice. The year was extraordinary for me, as was the blog writing, but it was also draining to write so much every day. I took the next year off, and was noticeably less happy. This past year I have done something every day for my own selfish joy, and written much less about it—often just using this space as a documentation, and not so much a space for literary, ethical, or even much of a personal exploration. The daily joy was perfect for me—and I think I will likely continue the practice. But I'm also sifting through my mind for this year's practice, and I would like to ask you—especially those of you who know me well, or have known me for a long time, or who think you have a good sense of me—what do you think might be good for me in this coming year? I have a few ideas, of course, but I would also love to hear what others think. Please feel free to leave your ideas in the comments of this blog (which I would prefer to your leaving them on Facebook) or send me personal emails. Thank you!


  1. What about recording random acts of kindness? Your own, or ones you observe/hear about?

  2. Thanks Sandra. I'm thinking maybe in the direction of asking for help. Or balancing that out with helping others. Or something completely else that I haven't thought of yet. More work on bottoms lines/saying no/saying yes more judiciously? A daily swim? A daily walk? Talk with strangers? Focus/pay attention better? A movie a day? 10 pages a day (writing) with an excerpt on the blog?

  3. Hi Jenny! I've enjoyed both blogs so far. For the next one, how about noticing something you don't control and how you are either glad you don't have to control that thing, or wish that you could?