Little Houses, Big Dreams

I want what everybody wants, I think.

Happiness. Health. (Health insurance, maybe possibly pretty please.) A sense of security — security and belonging. Someone to cup my chin and say: don’t worry so much, sweetie. A way to do meaningful work. Have rich relationships. Reach an understanding with my body, with its soft spots and proclivity for all things powdered sugar and pretty. Laugh a lot. Sleep in, sometimes. Make frequent escapes to somewhere serene. Breathe a little more easily, a little more often.

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But when I graduated from college, what I wanted more than anything was to succeed. I wanted to make what my parents had made. I wanted a great job. I wanted to drive a new-ish car, have a nice apartment, and be able to pay all of my bills. (With relative ease.) I wanted to start socking away for someday, but still be able to splurge sometimes, too. I wanted a Dutch oven stamped Le Creuset, a living room snipped straight from West Elm, and a closet full of clothes that clearly stated: young professional, on the rise. And I wanted to fall in love with someone also on the rise, also making $100,000+ a year.

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As much as it pains me to admit, some of those things still sound awfully nice. I’d love to be a young professional on the rise. I’d love to have found my footing. I’d love to stop losing ground. Or even just press pause on all of the pacing. I’d love to start striding forward. And if I could do that in a pair of buttery leather boots? Well…I don’t know that I’d shake my head no.

But give me a choice between Paragraph One and Paragraph Two, and I know which one I’d choose, every day of the week.

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I don’t want a white tablecloth — not if it’s going to deter this evening’s plans for Spaghetti alla Foriana. I don’t want hotel linens — not if they’re going to discourage tomorrow’s breakfast in bed. I don’t want a job that will take all I have to give and then some — a job that will leave me bitter, edgy, exhausted. Creatively sapped. I don’t want to be afraid to turn it off, put it away. I don’t want to feel as if I can’t ever recharge. I don’t want to worry about maintaining a car or a boat or a big, beautiful house. I don’t even want to deal with dry-clean-only clothes.

What I really want is extra energy, extra time. So there is more of me leftover, for the important things. For keeping in touch with friends, for making new ones, for reading books, for writing my own (maybe?), for going for walks, for taking pictures — for those kinds of things.

When I really let myself dream, when I’m waiting for the teakettle to shriek-scream, I think of little houses. Little houses, way out in the woods.

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And only a few other things, really: a desk, a laptop, a chair. A twin bed and a cheerful quilt. A hot plate and something good to eat. Somebody to have tea with, sometimes. And maybe a dog, for the rest of the time. (They say dogs can smell sadness — what do you think about that?)

Sometimes I think it’s not a matter of money — it’s a matter of courage.

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I could do without the bakeries, the coffee shops, the restaurants, and the boutiques. Especially if I knew I’d be trading them for a yard full of trees.

But then the practicalities start to creep in. I’d miss the relatively easy access I have now, to good groceries and good yoga. And even if it were possible, even I did have the option, would I really be ready to give really rural a try?

It would be silly to spend my twenties shutting myself off, in a little cabin sitting so far back. How would I get to work? Where would I work, for that matter? What are the chances there would be a small stationary shop nearby — one just in dire need of a social media person? And even if I were able to get some kind of a job, did I really expect to meet someone who I’d want to have tea with? Who would want to have tea with me, approximately 34823949 miles from civilization?

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And not just anyone — it always seems to come back to this — but someone. Someone who would like me almost exclusively for the way I think/write/do/dream.

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Or primarily for the way I over-steep my tea, collect little mugs, arrange cookies on a plate, or enjoy chocolate chips right out of the bag. Or for the way I feel so intensely. Fall asleep so early.

It makes me want to take a different approach to online dating. (Which I’m not doing, by the way, because strikes me as shallowshallowshallow, so much of the time.) Instead of posting a picture of myself, what if I posted a picture of my dream home — my dream life?

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Then you could like it, if it looked a little like yours.

{Cute cabins via @corrine_t, @lily_rose, and @alexstrohl on Instagram.}

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4 thoughts on “Little Houses, Big Dreams

  1. Everything is surprisingly possible. Sometimes trying something out, something different, taking some step forward, even if it turns out the wrong step, is the way to discover what you want.

  2. Beautifully written, and extremely relatable. We all want so many things but it’s a struggle to find out what really matters to us and what we’re willing to sacrifice. I hope you’re finding some of what you want! (And as a side note, online dating can work and isn’t always shallow! It just takes a while to weed out the non-matches to find the right one)

    • Aww, thanks for stopping by, Anna! I hope you’re trying on different possibilities too, even if they’re just small things to start. For me that means a lot of virtual house hunting on Instagram, haha. And I know, I know — online dating can be good! I think I’d be less opposed to it if I could skip the picture part.

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