Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What is your dream?

Cha asked me this last night. We're lying in bed, it's late, I'm reading, she's falling asleep. "What is your dream?" This is one of those questions I can't answer, like "What is your favorite book?" But she was serious, I could tell. She's been thinking deeply about asking me this for a few nights. I told her it was to sit on my ass bored to death for 40 hours a week at a mid-level university library reading 'blogs; this, mostly because I retreat into smart-assification when trying to hide the simple fact that I have no ambition in life.

I don't have a "dream," because I don't know what I want, or how to find out what I want, or what I "should" be doing. I remember having such ideas as a pre-teen: a fervent desire to be Carl Sagan, or JRR Tolkien, or SRV. All of that is vague now as I start middle-agedness still unsure of what I want to be when I grow up. This at times has precipitated great crises of confidence during my adulthood. Now I simply accept it as a major part of what I am. I'm sure family members and friends from way back think I'm floundering somehow--so what? I don't care what others think. (I'm going to distinguish "dream" in this connotation from "fantasy"; I might not have a clue as to an ideal personal future circumstance, but I do have fantasies, including one that involves seeing Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and George W. grabbed up by that robotic monster on the cover of Queen's News of the World and killed by its brutish jabbing finger).

Mostly, so long as I'm married to Cha, living in a decent house, with a steady income, liesure time to travel, wine to drink, books to read, time to write and play guitar, I'm pretty content. Sometimes I think I should start a "career," or focus on some writing that's more than simply 'blogging or journaling--but I have no strong passion to do that now. I'd rather draw or learn a Dylan song or watch something from Netflix.

I know Cha has dreams--she's known for 20 years what she's wanted to do/be as a professional, and like my baby sister (who knew as well) she's gone out and grabbed her field by the balls and had a lot of success. Sometimes I wish my life had unfurled that way--but what if I'd gone through with the astrophysics degree and sat crunching data from a probe every night? Would I have read and experienced all the craziness I've got under my belt already? Cha gets herself worked up because she thinks I'd be a great novelist or a musician if she weren't somehow "holding me back," which is what she said again last night. Ha!

If it weren't for her, I'd be a drunk working retail somewhere--a drunk with literary pretentions, assuredly, but I'd be far worse off. The idea that she holds me back from anything is rubbish. Perhaps I would've gone straight through to a PhD if we hadn't met--perhaps I would have gone to a better school farther away for graduate school without the need to be close to her in Baltimore. But I doubt it. And even if I had, I'd be far more miserable without her. And a PhD in literature guarantees a career in retail these days...

I do have half-formed dreams of living in Europe or Mexico on a chunk of land with some goats and chickens and taters and corn, trying to exist off the grid and without bills and paychecks and all that other bullshit that molests me daily. Ok, I admit it, Cha holds me back from my dream of being a dirty hermit somewhere. She's awful.

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