Monday, August 25, 2008

I had a fantasy about my future the other day that was unlike any I've had before. It occurred to me on a trip upstate with three of the most wonderful friends I know. To be precise, it actually occurred on our way back downstate (can you say downstate?), in the little town of Phoenicia, while standing outside of a real estate office. The office was closed, it being Sunday in small-town America and all, but there were pictures up in its window of the properties it had for sale. One in particular caught my eye. They were selling an old hotel on a vast amount of acreage for the unthinkably low price of $150,000.

The hotel needed work of course, lots and lots of work, but it was a beautiful, historic, white-washed, romantic 19th century building, and I saw the potential in it immediately. In that moment, for a fleeting second, I set aside the notion of big city living that I've had my entire life. I set aside visions of myself at 30, 40, 50 years old, hosting cocktail parties for fabulous people in increasingly larger and more expensively furnished apartments located in the various urban meccas of the world. I set aside the (admittedly vague, hazy and ever-changing) concept of a Career with a capital "C," one that I would possibly log 65 hour weeks for, taking public transportation home at the end of long days with the masses of other humans pursuing Careers. I let all of that go for one moment, and I imagined myself purchasing this old hotel and throwing my entire being into it. I imagined renovating, gardening, painting and sanding, giving my all to making it habitable. And instead of hunkering down in a dank subway car at the end of each day, I imagined stretching out on my wrap-around porch. Next to me, perhaps, would sit my lover, my soulmate; he would be strong with capable hands, himself a carpenter. Our bodies would ache synchronously from the day's labor, and we would drink a glass of wine together and listen to the trees.

I realized then, more fully than ever, that the only limits in our lives are the ones we impose upon ourselves.