I had given up.

Confession: my entire life I’d held a precious dream. To own a cottage by the ocean. I wanted it more than just about anything. Though I’d accomplished many things in my adulthood, I had reached a point of utter resignation. It was a moment when I examined that dream and thought to myself: “It’s ok. It’s just not going to happen for me in this lifetime. I’ll be fine.”

I had given up.

Surprisingly, though I felt a little sad, it seemed matter-of-fact. After decades of dreaming of something that now appeared impossible, I just laid it down. That’s the way it was, and with a sigh and a shake of my head, I was willing to accept it.

But that’s the funny thing about will.

My will wasn’t actually ready to lay that dream down—but my fear was. Fear is tricky. Sometimes, it’s big and loud, but other times it’s super stealth; and it had faked me out. It had tricked me into resignation. Luckily, my will was stronger (and more stealthy).

One day, out of the blue, I had a moment of what if. What if I could sell some un-utilized (and seemingly un-sellable) property I owned in Maine? What if it was possible and that could be enough? Hm. That hm was enough to get me started.

I began taking small steps. I contacted a realtor. Hm. Started tackling paperwork; one small task at a time. Hm. Simultaneously, I began my impassioned romance with Zillow and every other real estate listings site I could find. I was indiscriminate. I’d make out with any real estate site anytime. I had my search parameters, I was willing to explore, and through my explorations I began to access dreaminess and possibility. Hm.

Eventually, I shared my dream with a few of my closest co-conspirators. People who don’t get freaked out or scared by my dreams, but will unabashedly declare “Yes!” regardless of how improbable my goal seems—even when my fear does its damned-est to fake me out. (This is a noteworthy turning point. When I share something with the people I am accountable to, I’m definitely in.)

What comes next still feels surreal:

• The property in Maine was listed for sale.
• I accepted a full-ask offer the same day it listed.
• The day of the closing I deposited the check, and proceeded on an exhaustive tour of properties in coastal Maine.
• I continued the tour; crossing the border into Canada, continuing via ferry to an island in the Bay of Fundy. The ferry ride was magical, and the island brought a distinct feeling of homecoming. The next day I toured every single available property within my parameters guided by a wonderful (and very patient) realtor.
• By the time I drove onto the ferry to begin the journey home to Westport, I had three wonderful choices available, and a decision to make.
• The hours of driving brought clarity and within a few days the seller had accepted an offer on 2.5 acres of oceanfront property on the Bay of Fundy.
• We are now about to begin construction of a off-grid oceanfront cottage.
• One impossible, given-up-on, dream-of-a-lifetime—fulfilled—in about a year and a half.

The moral of this story is that even if you’ve completely given up on something; your will is stronger, more perseverant, cunning, and resourceful—than your fear. Just get curious, take one small step at a time over and over again, lean into your closest co-conspirators for support and accountability, and watch your dream become reality. It’s never too late and you can do it!