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The Myth of the Silk Purse: How to Keep Your Vision

By Sherry Bronson April 02, 2024 Mindset

I was living in Mexico in 2022, contemplating a return to the U.S., when my sister emailed asking if I would be interested in a derelict hunting shack on the property abutting the family farm where she and her husband live. She suggested that it could probably be gotten for the price of removing it, and sent pictures. 

It was unfinished and had been abandoned for years. Inside, a stained, mouse-eaten upholstered chair, a stool, a table on metal posts bolted to the floor, strings of flypaper black with dead flies, and leftover trash from take-out meals left me wondering who had occupied this place. The one large window was broken. Pink fiberglass insulation sagged between the studs and a plywood ceiling and floor completed the ambiance. It was not love at first sight. But she said the structure was sound and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That 440 sq. ft. building had potential. 

There were other considerations. It would mean a move back to northern Minnesota winters. The farm was hours away from any of my daughters. Not only that, it was 40 miles from the nearest town with a grocery store. But after the traumatic years of Covid and the marauding monkeys in Bali, and nine months with 160,000 other people in the high desert city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the remote isolation of the farm spoke to me. 

I Started Sketching Plans and Told My Sister I Wanted It

Several weeks later, I was talking with a creative designer friend about my ideas. He listened to me gush for about three minutes, then said, “Honey, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” I was completely taken aback and before I could even think, I responded with an indignant, “Just watch me!” 

That was three years ago. Now when people walk through the front door of my transformed hovel, their jaws drop. I’ve been vindicated!

I Kept to My Vision

I had a vision. I focused on it. I believed in it. No one else could see past the existing, sad mess.

That happens in many different ways by well-intentioned people in our lives, especially as we age. Some folks seem to know so much better than we do what’s good for us. But they can’t see inside our heads. As I started sharing my vision, I could have been influenced by the skepticism of friends. Based on their warnings, I might have scaled back my expectations and settled for something far less than my dream. 

Fortunately, I listened, evaluated their advice, took what made sense because some of it did, and created a home that thrills me over and over again

Hold Fast to Your Fire! 

Even if others cast doubt, believe in yourself. Dare to go for the silk purse. Maybe for you, that means travel, or writing a novel; better yet, a trilogy! Maybe it’s getting involved with a theater group, learning a new language, or starting your own company. But be prepared for a few Negative Nellies to cast clouds of gloom over your shiny, new idea.

You’re retired! 

You’ve earned your rest!

Why would you want to complicate your life?

You don’t really want to do that! 

You won’t have time for your grandchildren.

Are you sure you have the energy?

Have you talked to your kids?

Is your (husband, wife, partner) on board with this?

Don’t argue with them or try to defend yourself. You know your limits. Just smile and go about doing what you want to do. There’s way more potential in most of us than we’re given credit for. The fact that our birthdays have entered bigger numbers shouldn’t diminish our desires, or the courage to act on them. 

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Are you fired up about a special dream? What is it? Does it take a lot for you to hold fast to your dream? Have you heard any feedback that you used to achieve your dream?

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I wish you had included before and after pictures of your home. Good for you! Sounds like you have had many adventures.

Carol S.

She has a link in the story above that takes you to her blog (click blog at top for more posts.) Very interesting and inspiring! What a writer and what a worker! Loved this story, thank you.

Sherry Bronson

Thank you! Yes, there are some pictures in my blog posts from the past year that show the progress on my hovel/house!.


I’m very impressed! Was hoping to see pictures of the before and after…

Sherry Bronson

I’ll write that story and post photos when the addition is finished!

Elizabeth Buebe

Wow! What an inspiring article! I think I’ll reevaluate the ‘rocking chair’!

Sherry Bronson

At the very least, reupholster it!

Chrystle Fiedler

I just love this post. Yes, it’s so important to hold on to your vision, your dream in the face of even well-meaning information and advice. I’m inspired by your story of reinvention and reinvigoration.

I’m off to travel and write very soon while I continue my editing and book coaching business and this reinforced my own beliefs. We make our own future. It’s so important to not let fear or doubt stop us!

Sherry Bronson

You’re editing, and coaching writers! I love it and thrilled to hear of your plans to travel. Navigating other cultures is a learning experience like none other.

Dr. Mary Ellen Cirelli

Perfect timing! Grateful for you…

Sherry Bronson

What a lovely thing to say. Thank you.

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The Author

Sherry Bronson is a writer and traveler. After downsizing, she spent ten thrilling years in Bali, then a year exploring Mexico. Now, she's in northern Minnesota rehabbing a derelict hunting cabin on the family farm. On her blog, Sherry encourages readers to fearlessly and fully live their own authentic lives.

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