Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Thousand Year Plan

I once wrote this article for the Taos News about a local artist named Thom Wheeler who, over the past three decades, has turned his acre of land into a magical melange of buildings and gardens.  He talked about further plans he has for the property, saying he's "on the thousand year plan."
Thom Wheeler's main house, image borrowed from thomwheeler.com

For whatever reason, that's what popped into my head this morning, as yet again I fretted about how slowly things are happening on my land and how long it's been since I posted on this blog.  I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself about all of that, and feel like I "should" be doing more and faster, but the truth is, I have other irons in the fire right now that come first.  I'm definitely a multi-iron-fire kinda girl anyway, but also being an entrepreneurial-minded single mother who doesn't like settling for less than meaningful work means that the irons I'm firing right now must be well-tended or the bills won't get paid.

Which brings me back to thinking about my land - the whole idea in the first place was to build a house and cut out a large portion of said bills, but it's just not that simple.  When I first decided to buy land, live in a bus off-grid, and build a house, I was excited by the prospect of no longer pouring money down what I called then "the black hole" of rent.  But after two summers of pouring money down the black hole of fuel and bags of ice and coffee shop food so that I could access the "free" Internet to do my work, not to mention the cost of moving back into town each fall, it was such a blessed relief to start paying rent again.  I realized that rent can actually get you something very valuable - a stable home base from which to live your life in a functional and harmonious manner.  I now happily hand over a check to my kind, generous landlady every month. 

Thus, here I am, still in this lovely funky sprawling adobe in town, enjoying my summer, working on my two new businesses (one of which you can check out here if you're so inclined).  But I think about my land every day, keep trying to find a time to get out there and do the little bit of work still left on the foundation trench.  That is realistically about all I can get done this summer unless these businesses take off in a big way because I don't have the extra money to put into building supplies at this point.

So waking up this morning hearing Thom Wheeler's calm, drawling voice in my head saying, "I'm on the thousand year plan" was wonderfully reassuring to me.  And I hope you understand me when I say that the fact that I (and perhaps the whole human race) won't be here in a thousand years makes absolutely no difference.


  1. So Susan, that puts me on the thousand year plan supporting you with your build. That's ok, I've got the time. Just keep thinking of the beautiful land you have and how good it feels when you are there. Take the boys and a picnic and go out for a day with them on the land.

  2. There's such peace in that sentence, and it applies to everything in our lives - home projects, creative projects, personal growth, etc.

    It's an interesting idea to hold, that we can have a thousand-year plan, but that we also have a finite amount of time on the planet, and it's shrinking every day. (I love the Buddhist line, "In 100 years, all new people.")

    Thanks for this post, it's got me thinking.

  3. Thank you, Lou :) That feels good to know.

    Yes, a finite amount of time indeed, Deonne. Speaking of Buddhist lines, what comes to mind is "The problem is you think you have time." Paradox - it's what's for dinner.

  4. When we built our house, there were long stretches when we couldn't work on it. The main thing is to stay ahead of entropy, and wait for a chance to move forward again. I think you're doing a fine job.

    1. That is excellent advice, Rebecca. "Stay ahead of entropy" is a good touchstone (or mantra) for me. Thank you :)

  5. Thanks for posting! Great to hear from you. I've had two major projects, well three, derailed in the last ten years but I keep modifying my plans and working toward the finish line, as if there is one! lol

    Children are a precious gift and they'll reward you for your efforts in all you do for your little family.


    1. Thanks, Bon vivant. Yes, modifying plans is a must in the ongoing derailments of life!