In most ways, I consider our lives here a big success. We couldn’t be happier, we’re “living the dream”, and I’m not going to bother you (again) with how beautiful it is here and how much the sunshines makes each day more glorious.
However, it’s not like everything is going perfectly. At times, it seems like we’re building failure upon failure. Examples? We have plenty of those. When your zucchini fail to appear, and your neighbour just laughs at your attempts to grow organic tomatoes. When you can literally can not find a single olive hanging off your olive trees. When you have other priorities in spring, and just don’t get enough things planted to feed you and your housemates as planned. When you just can’t handle the heat for days and days in a row. When the tiles just fall off the stairs. When there are no bees around to fertilise your garden. When you do your best living and working with a couple of volunteers who hardly speak any English (or other common languages), and they just end up hating you. When you keep spraining your ankle (and don’t really get to give it a rest). When your self made “almond milk” turns out to be this white watery liquid with a lot of must at the bottom. When you make a (very very stupid) mistake and the chickens all get killed.
Of course, my first reaction is to blame myself (in many cases, it is my fault and nobody else’s) and feel bad about the whole thing. Turns out that doesn’t really help.
So the only option left, is “reset and try again”… Failure is everything those mushy quotes say it is – we’ve made mistakes (we’re making them all the time!), and those would really be failures if we didn’t learn from it, or if we didn’t try again. Now it’s time to kick out a few of the original plans, and instead… We sit down. Take a deep breath. Give ourselves some credit for we’ve realised already in such a small time – and tackle what really needs to be done in the weeks to come. And after that, we’ll think some more: make new plans, decide on other projects, do what we think we should do at that time. Live life by the moment, instead of letting our dreams be broken by unrealistic expectations. Cut ourselves some slack, take some time off. Maybe try and get some more sleep.
And most of all, think about all the things that are not going wrong. This summer, we’ve had some great guests already – old and new friends, long lost (or never lost) family members. We’ve had super volunteers as well – always ready to pitch in and really help out whenever necessary. We’re finally making stuff: hummus with our own chickpeas, mustard from our own seeds, our olives are tasting amazingly good, marzipan from our left over almonds getting made as we speak, made amaretto last week, planning to make fresh “tinto de verano” tonight. More and more things are getting finished: the last step of the outside stairs is finally there, our current workaway-volunteers are grouting the last bit of inside tiles that still needed to be done, we’re getting help on Friday to finish the wall around the water deposit,… And then there’s the shooting stars in this amazing black night sky… they really make you forget everything else.