Eureka! A year ago I set out on a personal quest to post an update each day without fail for one year, journaling deep into our Rosslyn story in the hopes of ascertaining what comes next. Today we celebrate 365 consecutive daily updates starting on August 1, 2022 and ending yesterday, July 31, 2023. What a year!
Before diving into the journey, the looong anticipated sense of accomplishment, and immediate takeaways, let’s backtrack to some earlier milestones starting with October 10, 2022.
I didn’t announce my intentions at the outset. I was uncertain. Hopeful, but lacking confidence. Could I commit to writing every single day, and then follow through again and again and again without fail? Could I build a habit on the foundations of an aspiration? my instinct told me to prove it to myself before sharing my ambition. And so my first public mention of the 365 day quest I’d undertaken was 70 days into the challenge, once I’d begun to earn my own trust and started to feel the momentum.
Yesterday marked ten weeks of old house journaling. Every. Single. Day. Two months and ten days back at the helm of this wayward, meandering, sometimes unruly experiment I call Rosslyn Redux. I emphasize the daily component of this benchmark because it’s been an important part of the goal I committed to at the end of July. Starting on August first I would resuscitate Rosslyn Redux. (Source: Old House Journaling)
One month later, breaking into triple digits, I began to believe it was doable. More than three months of proof that I could live up to my hopes. More than a quarter of the way toward my lofty objective, it still danced like a mirage — sometimes as apparent as reality, but others evanescing inexplicably — ever between me and a shifting horizon, but I was increasingly comfortable with owning the goal, pursuing it publicly, and helping others understand my shift from quixotic aspiration to confident ambition.
Here’s an excerpt from my euphoric blathering on November 9, 2022.
Yesterday marked a new benchmark… One hundred days, so far. No skips. At least one Rosslyn update each day. Quite a few late night, last minute posts, but so far I’ve managed to squeak it out every time. Phew!
[…] And with over three months of consistent posting I’m cautiously growing more confident that I can reach my goal… [And] bringing fresh vision and scrutiny to Rosslyn Redux has invigorated me beyond all expectations. My mission is 100% clear. My timeline and deadlines and expectations? All clear.
Each new reflection, poem, photo essay, artifact, etc. is driving me deeper into a profoundly curious conversation with Rosslyn, compelling me to explore Susan and my passionate relationship with this property (and even our family’s and friends’ connections to this property), inspiring me to wonder how a brick-and-mortar home mysteriously became a member of our family, and challenging me to try and gather the dots into a constellation that makes some sort of sense… (Source: Why Reboot Rosslyn Redux?!?!)
Halfway through the year was truly the tipping point. Celebratory? Check. Exhilarating? Check. Confidence affirming? Check. And creating the summit, I knew that one complete year of daily updates was within my abilities. I felt a renewed wellspring of commitment, but I also began to really appreciate the sense of accomplishment. And, perhaps more important, I’d become fully invested in the adventure, keenly querying, and relishing the discoveries I was beginning to make.
Yesterday was a meaningful midpoint milestone in my quest to post a Rosslyn update every day without fail for an entire year.
Six months, 26+ weeks, 184 days. One new installment every 24-hours without fail. Rhapsodizing Rosslyn, celebrating our team’s accomplishments, soapboxing historic rehab and adaptive reuse, showcasing seasonality snapshots and historic Essex memorabilia, weaving in some hyperlocal haiku and place-based poetry, illuminating the mercurial transition / transformation we’re currently navigating, and sharing boathouse and icehouse updates, intriguing artifacts, and wildlife observations.
Call it a 184-day streak. Or call it dogged determination. Either way I have 181 days to go until I reach my goal. And with each new post, each small victory, I am growing more and more confident that I will accomplish my mission of 365 posts, one complete year of daily updates beginning on August 1, 2022 and concluding on July 31, 2023. (Source: Midpoint Milestone: 6 Months Down, 6 Months to Go)
At 66% into my year of daily Rosslyn journaling, it’s fair to say that my emotions were mixed. I was proud of the progress, the accomplishment, and the increasing attainability of my goal. I was also really enjoying the reflective ritual each day, taking time and energy to slow down and focus on some aspect of Rosslyn and/or our relationship with Rosslyn.
But I was realizing that most of my entries were progress reports on the icehouse rehabilitation that roughly tracked the same calendar period of my yearling quest. Not a coincidence, of course, for both initiatives were rooted in a reinvigorated interest in Rosslyn’s past, present, and future.
With four months to go, I’d say this vision is still accurate, but the “mercurial transition / transformation we’re currently navigating” has received short shrift. The most psychologically probing (and the most elusive) of the subjects I’ve been exploring, it nevertheless gets sidestepped, dodged, abbreviated, and postponed.
And so I’m hoping to recalibrate in the weeks ahead, offering more perspective on our current state(s) of liminality. Dig deeper. Increase transparency. Invite you into the considerations and conundrums that we’re weighing. Big decisions on the horizon, and sometimes complex, sometimes conflicting feelings and ideas. Time for an open book… (Source: 66% Done, 33% To Go)
That open book is happening, but I’m still striving for transparency. For clarity as much as anything. The liminality I allude to isn’t a single, passing transition. It’s a swelling-almost-cresting wave of transformation. In so many respects, our entire Rosslyn experience, all 17 years of it, has been characterized by liminality. But recent years have revealed a shift, a seismic shift, and we — Susan and I — are navigating, at least *trying* to navigate this change with intentionality and self awareness and compassion. And yet we’re often adrift, buffeted by storms of passion, tossed among the frothy whitecaps, reactive when we’d hoped to be proactive.
And so I find myself today at once ebullient, proud of the accomplishment that I’ve earned over these last 365 days, but also angsty that I’be shied from the most difficult work. I’ve tiptoed up to the edge, looked into the daunting expanse, and penned platitudes when courageous anthems were needed. I’ve tended the garden when risky adventures would have served me better.
I return to thoughts I shared six months ago.
In committing to this daily practice last summer I was acknowledging that I had some serious work to do. In order for us to constructively sort through our collective vision for the future, to determine whether we’re too fond of Rosslyn to proceed with plans for designing and building the lakeside retreat we’ve conjured over the years, to honestly assess our willingness and our readiness to hand this sanctuary over to another family, both Susan and I are undertaking the sort of “deep work” that will hopefully enable us to make some decisions. I’m talking about 100% honest, prolonged consideration. Rosslyn has quite literally been a part of our family, and not just our nuclear family. Can we untangle her? Are we willing to let her go? Can we joyfully pass the privilege on to new custodians? Or are we not yet ready?
For me this daily practice, digging deep into sixteen and a half years of living and loving Rosslyn, is my time and place to work through these questions. To sort it all out. To find peace and confidence in my convictions. And six months in, I believe that I’m on the right path. Not all the time. There have certainly been some tangles and tangents that got away from me before I realized what was happening and reined them in. But the constant conversation — *internal* as I study, reflect, and compose these installments as well as *external* as I share these updates and then interact with many of you — is reinvigorating and reawakening Rosslyn from her comfortable slumber (and me from mine!)
So this midpoint milestone is a profoundly significant benchmark for me personally. It’s the tangible representation of my germinating confidence and clarity. It’s the measurable mean between a conflicted outlook and the conviction I’m hoping to discover over the next six months. In a real sense, it’s a halfway point toward the sort of rehabilitation that we’ve been undertaking with Rosslyn’s buildings and grounds since 2006, only in this case the journey is profoundly personal. Instead of historic architectural rehabilitation, it is restoration of my innermost wonder, my romantic dreams, and my idealistic hopes. With passion reawakened and a map forward becoming more apparent each day, I’m tempted to see this benchmark as the sort of celebration enjoyed upon finally reaching a base camp, a lofty peak viewable in the distance foreshadows the ambitious ascent ahead but also offers a majestic affirmation of the reachability and proximity of the summit. Today marks just such a halfway point, an opportunity to appreciate the accomplishments so far, and an incentive to forge ahead. (Source: Midpoint Milestone: 6 Months Down, 6 Months to Go)
And so 365 posts into this quest I realize that I am still flagellating between between a conflicted outlook and the conviction I’m hoping to discover. I have not revealed the clarity I set out to uncover. Instead of cutting the umbilical cord with Rosslyn, I’ve doubled down with the icehouse rehab, finally realizing (actually only *almost* realizing, at this point) my long held pipe dream of a workspace in one of our old barns. I’ve ruminated and wrestled, but I’ve not yet emerged confidently victorious. If not uncoupled from Rosslyn despite the fact that our relationship has outlived its most ambitious aspirations by more than 400%. In fact, in many respects I’m more smitten than ever. And I suspect that finalizing my move into the icehouse this week will further burnish my love for her…
So where from here? One mission accomplished. One mission still unresolved.
Today, is the first day of the rest of my quest. I’ve come up victorious on the yearlong daily practice, committing to habit reflecting on and writing about our home, our oasis, and our relationship with Rosslyn. I’ve proven that I am stay the course. I am confident that I can continue.
But I must now essay to untangle this almost two decade, poignantly entwined threesome. I will double down, redirecting the discipline I’ve brought to daily dispatches into the real work. Dear Rosslyn, my venture begins anew tonight. I’ll talk with you soon!