My husband and I started dating when we were 19.
We were in college. Our story is sweet. We had minimal responsibility and all the time in the world to explore life and each other. We graduated together, we traveled, we partied, we saw and made art, we landed jobs that brought us creative and intellectual fulfillment, we traveled some more, we bought a house, rescued a dog, got married, had a baby and now we’re 31.
All that stuff happened in 12 years.
Many of our biggest milestones happened in one decade. I imagine this is why some people look back and glorify a very short period of time in their lives. Maybe this is why marriages get stale and couples get divorced. When I consider the long haul of 50+ years with one person it’s a bit daunting. How do we keep things interesting?
I think the answer is simple: We keep dreaming.
It’s fun to dream. Life can be so hard sometimes. Being constantly practical and realistic is wearing on the mind, body and soul.
One way that I like to dream is by occasionally searching my smart phone for homes in our area. It’s mostly for fun, but last week, Zillow sent me a link to a home that had a price reduction. So I sent the link to my husband and after looking at the pictures, he even showed some interest. We set up an appointment with the trusted realtor we worked with six years ago when buying our first home and went to take a look.
The house needs a lot of work. The bathrooms and kitchen need to be updated. A few years down the road we’d need to tackle a big addition. But for some reason, these projects no longer seem like burdens, as they did when we were searching for our first home. In fact, I found myself strangely excited by the opportunity to spend some hard earned money and energy on improving this place, along with some blood, sweat and tears. Maybe it’s because the interior design brings such character to the place and it strongly reminds me of my childhood home. The location is great; only a couple minutes walk to our favorite park in the city. The open yard surrounding the property is huge. Imagining my 90-pound puppy running around in the hot, summer sunshine and the deep, powdery snow caused my heart to flutter.
Whoops. Right under my nose. I fell in love again.
And almost immediately, a little voice got louder and told me to stop dreaming. ‘You already have a house. You have everything you need. You can’t afford this. You don’t even deserve this.’ These are only a few of the common sound tracks that run on a loop in the back of my head.
My realistic side usually wins. But yesterday, my heart was louder. Why is bad to let a dream run a little wild? I think my yoga practice has taught me to remain so mindful of the difference between wants and needs. And often when the “I want” is powerful enough in my psyche, I become obsessed with that want and lose the ability to focus on what I have. Instead, I start to fixate on what I don’t have. Those are the wants I need to watch out for. I know it’s dangerous territory for me so I need to step back and consider what’s missing in my life that’s causing me to obsess.
In this case, I think that I’m genuinely missing the excitement of dreaming. Having the ability to dream of more is not necessarily poisonous or unhealthy. I can look at my life and see that I don’t really need anything more than what I have and still think that it’s vitally important that we keep dreaming throughout our lives, not just at the beginning.
Seeking a change of pace can contribute to the future growth and development of my own soul as well as strengthen my relationship with my husband. Because I do know that if we get bored, our relationship will suffer. No one wants to stand still for too long. Stagnation causes discontent and disease. So letting myself get excited about the possibility of moving into a new house, with new projects and new memories, makes me pretty excited. And I don’t think I have to feel bad about that.
Big life changes give my husband and I the opportunity to fall in love again. In many ways it reminds us of our early years together— the excitement that surrounds the unknown, taking risks, following our hearts instead of our minds. And by now we know that life changes will inevitably expose our strengths and weaknesses, requiring us to make the brave and conscious choice to show up with compassion and understanding every day.
My husband supported me when I lost my mom to cancer and he held up one of my legs while I gave birth to our son. I’ve seen him positively thrive as a husband and father. When I look at the man he’s become, it suddenly feels as if there’s nothing we can’t do.
Maybe the stars will align and we will buy this house. Or maybe we won’t. Regardless, I’m happy we’re dreaming.