You imagine a world where the two of you can go out to dinner together on a Saturday night and no one thinks twice about it. It makes you want to cry, the simplicity of it, the smallness of it. You have worked so hard for a life so grand. And now all you want are the smallest freedoms. The daily peace of loving plainly.Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Had I imagined a different life for myself? More than once, so many lives. When I was young, I was going to be a teacher. Even younger still, a mother. Later, unsure, perhaps I’d do something with words? Psychology. Human nature. An animal sanctuary? And later, again, a mother once more. I imagined myself a young mother, a kid or three, young enough that they’d have grandparents for a long time, even great-grandparents for a little while, their parents for much longer still, for at least beyond the boundaries of my imagination. A fantasy blurry at the edges, never fully defined, details to be sorted out by time.
And then that age came and went and I imagined a life where I did not have to mother yet, not so young, not to my own, not while I already had so much to care for. I imagined time to settle in myself, rickety parts and all, without having to be a stable base to anyone. Later, there would be time, I would make the time, but in a while, please, not yet.
I imagined a life where I could be unbeholden for a little longer, become a brand new woman again and again, wear my different sides to find the golden fit.
I imagined, and then I chose.
Had I imagined a different life for myself? I imagined neither the contentment of my life, the rich beauty, nor the sorrow. To have this much love, this much to love, my dreams can not encompass. To have this much to miss, perpetually yearning for things beyond my reach – a heart can’t ever be prepared.
You cannot live the same life as you imagine. You must live a smaller life, a more compact life. The life you imagine is too capacious, you will lose your balance. Driving home, I think this.Dionne Brand, The Blue Clerk (Verso 24)
I still imagine countless futures for myself, and retroactively a myriad different pasts, different paths I could have taken.
And I still choose, every day, to have this life, to live this love, to bear this sorrow. It is mine. I do not know who I will be in a year, or five years, another thirty-three years from now. I could imagine, but I choose to wait and see how it turns out. I will be there with what is mine, and the details will be sorted out by time.