DIY DIVA
DIY diva

Endings and Beginnings

November 12, 2019 | 126 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

Even before I knew how to name it (or identify it) one of the core principles of my life was always to follow my energy. I used to say that I was a jack of all trades, or that I had a lot of hobbies, or, in wry moments, with countless projects in-progress around the house, call it “Project ADD”.

Fifteen years ago– before all of the houses and power tools– I used to take art classes, religiously. Metal casting, stained glass, painting, pottery, photography. I don’t have a passion for a specific art medium, just a desire to know how things are done, and then, when I can picture something in my head, to bring it into existence. I often don’t care what it is, or what’s involved in bringing it to life, I just get an overwhelming urge–once I can see it–to make it real.

And, truthfully, every construction project I’ve taken on, that house I built while I lived in a garage, and almost everything I’ve done on the farm is just a bigger and more complicated extension of that. Of picturing something in my head, and then bringing it into existence. Building it, planting it, tearing things down and/or cleaning them up. (Okay, fine, very very rarely cleaning things up, but you get what I’m saying.)

Everything I’ve written on this website has also been an extension of it. Once I’ve broken something down, dived into the details, and understand it from top to bottom there’s nothing I love more than to tell a story about it. To share it with everyone else. And while I know this is not the case, part of me likes to assume everyone out there is just like me and wants to know all the ins and outs of how things work, and how to take it all apart and put it back together themselves.

The internet, and the early days of blogging, provided such an amazing platform for those things, partly because nobody was doing it. There wasn’t good information out there written by, well, nerds like me. People who were just learning themselves, but passionate enough to want to dive right in, learn everything they could, and share it with everyone.

There are sixteen whole years of my life documented on this website. Even if you look back at the online world ten years ago, there wasn’t great “how to” information on the internet when it came to houses and DIY, and so everything I wrote here felt good, and useful and energizing.

A few years back I stopped writing how-to articles, mostly because all of the sudden you could find how-to’s on almost anything online (and I’m not mad about it… do you know how many parts I’ve been able to change out of my piece-of-shit ’95 farm truck because some guy made a shaky phone-cam tutorial and posted it to YouTube? ALL OF THEM. I am so grateful.)

Even after I realized the wave of useful how-to’s had caught up with me, I told stories all of the time. I believed so strongly, and still do, in the power of an authentic story.  I recently went back and re-read all of the archives of this website–which, as far as existential crises  go, I do not recommend re-reading 16 years of your life in one sitting– but I will say that I fucking love everything I ever wrote in 2013 (and not one of those things was a how-to). I love a lot of other things I wrote, but if there was a year between 2004 and now that I was on point with my storytelling (or maybe just genuinely delighted with my life?), that would be the one.

Recently though– and this will come as no surprise to anyone who has been checking this site, wondering what I’m up to– not so much. Which is weird because I’ve actually been writing a fair amount. Writing. Re-writing. Thinking a lot about the things I’ve written, and then never hitting the publish button.

I spent at least three weeks on this one, and I kind of love the story, but also kind of hate investing more time into a story I can’t seem to tell correctly…

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Don’t even talk to me about my Drafts folder right now.

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I know everyone wants to hear about the Tiny Angry Badgers. (Spoiler alert: They’re feral cats and resulted in six of the worst weeks of my life, and currently 2 of the best (since Bubs died.) I’ve had three complete emotional breakdowns over them. It has been a roller coaster.)

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Here’s the thing… the fundamental parts of me that I’ve shared on this website for years have not changed. I love a challenge (I mean, people used to give me shit for drinking and using power tools, and now my hobbies have escalated into climbing mountains… alone. And even that doesn’t seem challenging enough. So.)

I love tackling projects on my own.. and increasingly feel like a crotchety old man when talking to the youths about how to do so, which I also love. (Let’s be honest, deep down I have always been a crotchety old man inside.)

I still occasionally have wicked building streaks (like all of the spring of 2019) where I have so much fun and so much energy I just can help but want to share it with the world.

I also have stories, like we all do. Stories about how I was bummed my peach trees only produced one whole peach this year (and yet how fucking delicious that one peach was… how much more I appreciated it than the years where those trees gave me ten pounds of fruit.)

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Stories about how cool it is that my mom lives on a lake, just a half-mile down the road from me (how much that has increased my quality of life in general, and how good my gardens look because of it), and stories about how hard it is that my mom lives on a lake, just a half-mile down the road from me (because I’m basically a crotchety old man inside… one who doesn’t have a lot of patience sometimes, or a lot of experience navigating shared responsibilities with my mom.)

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I have stories about how some of the grapevines have finally established, and stories about how (after all of that work and joy) I harvested a bowl full of grapes and then let them all go to waste in my fridge because I was too busy with work to do anything with them…

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I have stories about how I feel I’m not doing right by the farm, because I spend a few of my after-hours hours at the gym instead of at home. Stories about how, at this stage in life, a career can override a lot of your passions (because let’s be honest, unless you’re very, very lucky, a career will pay for far more of your mortgage than passions.) But also stories about how my passions have been the catalyst for some of the best, strongest connections I’ve made with amazing people in my adult life, and how I struggle to make time for them. (Both the passions and the amazing people.)

I have stories about the internet which, through this website, was once one of the best and most energizing parts of me.. and now has now become one of the worst distractors from the things I love to do. I have stories about how building a non-traditional life by myself–without compromise–has been one of the best decisions of my life. And I have stories about how I’ve failed. How, because I love the life I’ve built so much, I haven’t taken chances. Stories about how living that non-traditional life has both provided unique opportunities for connecting with people, and also prevented me for connecting with people in the way people who live more traditional lives do.

I spend a lot of time every day looking for the kind of stories that used to inspire me, that I used to feel a connection with, that made me think, “hell yeah, that’s not perfect, but it’s awesome, and it makes me want to do the same.” And I don’t find them. I find a lot of people trying to be “influencers” (I have never hated a word more in my life), a lot of people who have genuine stories to tell who are more worried about the searchability of their blog posts, or the clickbait in their titles.

I mean, seriously? Screw a world in which we cannot say a true thing in a true way because if we tell an authentic story in an authentic way A SEARCH ENGINE MAY NOT FIND IT AND DISTRIBUTE IT TO THE MASSES.

I am, in general, uninspired. (And, if we’re being honest, also jealous of the kids who have found their niche building things and doing what they love on Instagram. I appreciate them, their creativity, their free spirits…  but not as much as I’ve appreciated health insurance and a 401k in the past which makes me? Old and lame? Probably.)

I realize this sounds like the the end of this website. And maybe it is? Except I clearly have a lot of stories I’d still like to tell. Things I would still like to share about the farm, and my projects (when I have the time for them.) It’s just that there was time where sharing them on this website made more sense in the world, and in my life, than it does now. And, honestly, I haven’t sorted it out. I don’t even have time to sort it out. I just have time to write half-finished blog posts… to think half-finished thoughts about my current life, but not to share them. (Except this one, which I promised myself I wouldn’t sleep until I published.)

And maybe, maybe telling the truth about all of this will unlock the part of me that just can’t figure out how the hell to tell a good story right now. To share in this new world of sharing. Sometimes just saying “I don’t know” gives you permission to just speak about what you do know, or what you’re questioning, or what you think you know but will probably realize you’re wrong about later, and maybe that’s all I’m asking for.

But in any case… if it takes me a week, or a month, or a year, or ten years to tell my next good story, this sure has been an amazing ride. Not just the sharing in general, but sharing it with all of you. Thank you for being a part of my story.

Edit/Update: So I hit publish on this post some time after midnight, woke up this morning and headed into day 14 of a work crisis, and honestly didn’t give it another thought until I came up for air an hour ago. And then I read all of your comments. (Is it dusty in here? Because my eyes are watering.  Maybe I’m allergic to these tiny, angry badgers…) Anyway. I’m going to respond to every comment but also wanted to make a general statement, which (if I haven’t said it enough) is basically thank you. Again. Sometimes all of these feels like shouting into a void, and then every once in a while you get a moment of clarity. Like, holy shit, the void has people in it! Awesome ones!

Seriously, every comment has been meaningful, and it has all given me a lot of food for thought.

I don’t know what shape my life is going to take in the next 6-12 months, or what part storytelling will play in it, but I don’t plan to take this site down (so all my old stories will stay up), and while I’m contemplating a full social-media break, I do post pics of the farm (and the badgers on my personal Instagram @_kitliz … I never quite figured out the right mix of personal vs. public social media, so what the hell, follow me there if you want to make sure I haven’t cut off a finger or fallen off a mountain.)

I can’t imagine this is the last thing I’ll ever post here, but it might be the last for a little while. Thank you for letting me know that when I’m ready to tell good stories again, you’ll be here to read them. It means the world.

DIY diva

    Comments

  • Joanie


    It’s good to hear from you, Kit. And it’s OK. You’re doing your life your way and I find it inspiring. Stay well and follow your dreams. And if that leads to a story you can’t help but share, go for it! Love from Manchester, Mi.

  • Diana


    I am a Romanian living in Romania (doh!) and I’ve been reading here for at least six years (that I know for sure, I have a picture of my daughter with a screwdriver putting together her ikea nightstand and I have titled that pic makita girl because of you. She was six at the time and she will be 12 next month.)
    You don’t know and I don’t know how to explain how much you’ve inspired me.
    Words don’t help me.

    I am rooting for you, a stranger in North America.

    Truth is the best freedom.

  • PattM


    I’ve been following you from the beginning! I enjoyed and appreciated the honest storytelling that is still present in every post. I almost had a farm life but took a different path, but I can still experience it through your stories. I also love me some renovation, DIY and animal escapades. You are an inspiration in so many ways and I am grateful that you decided to share your stories with a world of strangers.
    I’ll be here when you are ready/able to share your next story.

  • Kimberly Mathews


    Thank you, Kit for all the stories and inspiration and being an awesome power-tool wielding bad-ass. Cheers for living life on your terms.

  • Karen, BC


    Kit, you’re awesome – we all are – and I just want to remind you of that. It’s your life so your book of stories. We’re here for any you want to publish but keep living your authentic life. There are too many pretenders out there.
    Signed, inspired fan from the beginning.

  • Meite


    I love your stories. Thank-you so much for sharing them. I’ve been reading since you lived in the garage. I’ve never commented, I’m online community shy. Your strength, inspiring life choices, farm, super-mom, and adorable animals have moved me. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I grew up on a hobby farm filled with strong, can do people. Your blog reminded me of home AND spoke to the young single woman I was, living far away, when I first found this corner of the internet. All the best to you and I’m excited for whatever the next phase looks like, be that online or private. Thanks for brightening this corner of the world.

  • Sondra


    Kit, let me start by stating a fact – you are truly amazing! I want to thank you for your voice and your truth. I have followed you from the near beginning and have loved every moment you’ve shared. I stayed because I love your voice, no matter what phase of life you were in or what changes came, your voice has always been your voice and that’s why I’m here. In the beginning I drank in all the DIYs and when you first transitioned to more story telling I did miss those DIYs, but I also felt like that’s when I got to know you better and that’s when I became more committed. Because, again, your voice is why most of us are here and is what we look forward to. You are a wonderful, authentic story teller and I think the world craves and needs that, and in this modern day of “influencers” we are searching for and craving those genuine voices like yours.

    I mean every word I wrote, but also don’t want to pressure you in any way. If you choose not to write often or anymore, I completely understand. It’s hard to keep doing this when you can’t find the inspiration, or when you have so many other things going on and other directions you want to go. But if you continue to write and share, I’ll still be here, reading every word. Seasons come and seasons go. Your blog has transitioned a lot over the years and it’s only natural that it continue to do that. It’s a living, breathing thing.

    Thank you for putting it all out there. Thank you for all that you’ve written and all that you share. Thank you for being you and for being authentic. Thank you for leaving the blog up so us “old” readers can re-read and re-read and re-read and laugh and smile along with you. And I have no doubt that in the future, a wave of young’uns will re-discover you and your words and it will make a difference in their lives too.

    All the best,
    Sondra

  • Steph


    Hello Kit – another never commenter here.

    I have been following since the days of garage living and giant bathtub building.

    This site has meant an unexpected amount to me, as I have also found myself building a life outside the 2.5 kids, picket fence, etc. norm. I have not yet found my farm, but it is in the plans. Your stories have come back to me more than once while planning this future.

    So thank you for showing me the badass weight-lifting, climbing, solo hiking, DIY future. I will check this site for as long as it is up, and appreciate it’s existence more than you know. If this is the end, thanks for everything. If it’s not, I’ll be here when you get back.

  • Susan


    One of the things I’ve most admired about what you share on this blog is that if something isn’t working for you, you aren’t afraid to switch gears and try another way. If you’re having difficulty sharing, then it makes sense to step away to refresh, recharge. I hope the urge to write returns to you after a break so we hear more of your stories. I’ve been following you since you tiled your first kitchen counter top using those blue tiles. I have sincerely enjoyed every post. I read them voraciously and am so happy when there’s a new one. You are the reason I want to have chickens in my backyard! I was looking forward to more holiday singing videos, and hearing your take on where you are in this journey of life. If you decide not to return, I’ll still be following you on Instagram, and will look forward to scenic pictures of your beautiful farm and animals! Thank you so much for sharing with us these past ten years!

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