Dreams come true. Without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them. – John Updike
Lately I’ve spent time dreaming about my life and what I want from it. Perhaps it’s because I’m 33 and rapidly approaching middle-age. Or maybe it’s because my baby daughter is almost a year old, as sure a reminder of the passage of time as anything else I’ve experienced.
What do I want for my family? What do I want professionally? Most importantly, what do I want for myself?
In the short-term, I’m working on:
- Running a 5k. I’ve lost 12 lbs in the last three months and I’m enrolled in another boot camp class. I feel energized and ready to take on new challenges. Running is my final frontier.
- Writing a manuscript. It’s a closely guarded secret that I’ve always wanted to be a writer. At any given time I’m cultivating several ideas, none of which are probably any good. I have no expectations of success with this, I just really want to put something down on paper that I can be proud of. In the last few days I’ve fleshed out 11 chapters. It’s time.
- My 10-year wedding anniversary. In August 2015 we’ll celebrate 10 years together. The years have been simultaneously effortless and back-breaking, and we work hard at moving forward in the same direction. I’d like to celebrate that with a trip and a vow renewal for just the three of us. Something heartfelt and honest. Our wedding wasn’t big by any stretch of the imagination, but I’d always envisioned myself getting married in front of a fireplace somewhere, just closest family and friends present. We’ve decided to celebrate 10 years over Christmas so that I can have the fireplace this time around.
But what’s bigger than a list of New Year’s resolutions, things like running, writing, and anniversaries? What’s bigger than a desire to visit Disneyland soon, or to restore the chest I’ve inherited? Bigger than even a new house or a car?
Where does my mind go when I think about myself at 63?
In the long-term my thoughts are jumbled together. Do I want to retire to France and live in a tiny flat in a quiet arrondissement? Or is it Rome, where Mike wants to settle? Or do we build roots somewhere in the space between, maybe in the countryside so that Margot and her children can run around barefoot, making messes and being noisier than we’re used to? We’ll set aside time for things like canoeing and gardening. Maybe Mike will learn to sketch a passable portrait and maybe I’ll finally get around to making my own cheese.
Or maybe it’s the other dream. The one where Mike and I open a little cafe in a small town. We’ll sell freshly made pasta, jars of red sauce, bread, cheese (always cheese!), olive oil, chocolate, tea, coffee, and wine, and maybe have a few tables and chairs so that people can order sandwiches and visit with one another. In his spare time Mike will run for a minor political office and I’ll take time off and do a Big Year, boarding planes to parts unknown in search of an elusive warbler of some kind. We’ll both walk Margot down the aisle and only Mike will know that I spent the entire morning weeping about letting her go.