Thursday, February 26, 2009

imagination and its limits

been thinking a lot about how my life right now is different than what i ever imagined it would be. as a kid i didn't much think about Being An Adult. i don't guess many kids did. i pictured my future family (always minus the husband) and my future house many a late night while laying in bed, conjuring up the perfect children's names for my three boys or, occasionally, two boys and one girl. we lived by the ocean, in a house modeled after a beach house i spent a week in with my family one summer. i would have a darkroom and be a photojournalist, traveling often to exotic locales around the world. but despite all my excursions, my fantasies always revolved around my home life - the mundane afternoon spent with my kids, little life lessons i would teach them in the darkroom while we developed prints and hung them up to dry.

that's about as far as my planning for the future ever got. that's as much detail as i'll ever recall about who i imagined myself to be. (unless you count a 6th grade project in which i had to write a newspaper all about my life, which had stories about my life as a famous actress and a city that was named after me.) once i hit high school, i didn't have time to imagine my future. i was too busy trying to hang on to every precious moment that was flying by. somehow i got it in my head that my high school days were the best days i would ever see, and that i needed to cherish each day. so absorbed was i in my teenage life that i actually believed i would spend my whole adulthood longing to return. who knows? maybe someday i will.

i'm amazed i managed to find myself in a decent college. god knows i could hardly spare the time to think about what kind of college experience i wanted. i was too busy making out and breaking up with my high school boyfriend, playing in a band with friends in my parents' basement and crying over my two best friends, one of whom had a severe eating disorder and the other who smoked weed all the time. looking back, it's no wonder i jumped right into a new relationship when i got to college. i had no idea what else to do with myself.

anyway. all of this to say: i truly never imagined i'd end up here. and by "here" i mean in law school; in a strong, functional and loving relationship; in the Big City; childless. yes, childless. the one thing i did picture, the one detail i had actually stopped to consider, was that i would have kids young. probably because my mom had me at 37, my brother at 39, and she took a lot of naps and i had two older siblings who were grown with families of their own. i always wanted to start early and stick around a long time. but there are no short-term plans to procreate. and that's probably for the best.

what i do have, though, is this life where i get to walk everywhere i want to go, take public transportation to get to work (er, school), go to countless happy hours with free food and beers, stretch out on the floor playing Trivial Pursuit with a guy i am in love with, eat dinner every night with a guy who loves me back, chase my dog around a dog park i also walk to, swing by whole foods for free snacks on my walk home, learn the law -- seriously, learn to be an advocate for people, get to work with farmworkers, plan a wedding, hear church bells when i step outside on a saturday, buy myself a dinner out, or a wii... ok, i'm just thinking about all these silly little things off the top of my head, but they are things i never imagined for myself.

T & i were talking yesterday and he made a joke about that old john lennon (?) quote about life being what happens when you're making other plans. that distant memory of the future i'd always imagined for myself turned out to be so limited by the things i knew and didn't yet know i wanted. i knew i wanted a better home life than the one i lived in. i didn't yet know what i was supposed to look like. and now, at the age when i had imagined myself with a couple of kids and a house, i have neither of those things. instead, i have the two things that i literally never dreamed of having: a sense of self and a loving partner. and i am so grateful.

1 comment:

JD-Maybe said...

This post has inspired me...I have been so nostalgic for the past few weeks. More so than ever before and about my early teens. It is really random and I'm not quite sure what it is about? Anyway, here is the link to my blog I had to change it up a bit...I will explain.