A friend of mine who knew what I was going through, who knew I wanted out of New York, out of my marriage, and a new life in Florida asked me where I envisioned myself in five years.
I drew a lovely photo in my mind. I would be practicing law, of course, because by default that was the career that made the most sense, though my dream job would be keeping my odd hours and writing more novels and having them sell like wild in the manner of any number of famous novelists. To date, I’ve still only written the one.
I would be living in a house in Gainesville, and my children would be involved in school activities, my oldest would be preparing for college, my daughter in the application process, my youngest getting ready for high school. In my mind, Matthew would have followed my footsteps and joined the local youth orchestra. Nowhere in that picture was I remarried. I didn’t envision going back to school, unless it was for an LLM in Taxation from University of Florida.
What really happened is that my son quit playing the violin for a few years, but he’ll be playing in his high school orchestra next year. My daughter is involved in the drama department, which is pretty much like breathing for her, and my youngest child sort of rebelled last year and nearly failed sixth grade. I’m still not sure how he is registered for seventh grade. I am not practicing law, and I’m not sure I ever will. I am a police dispatcher, a driver on the side for as long as that lasts until they kick me out for not keeping above a 4.6 out of 5 approval rating (I’m back down to 4.5 this week as the only rider who rated me gave me a 4) and I’m studying programming and web design. I’m hoping to pull together enough money to buy a DSLR camera to aid my photography hobby and perhaps start a photography business on the side.
All in all, I’m happy. It wasn’t what I imagined for myself, but in some ways it is better.
But today, I saw this article about houseboats. While the kids are in school, I am content living in Gainesville. I will hold down the job (or another) as long as necessary, because they deserve a sense of stability. And if we can afford it, Adam and I would like to buy a house here, a place either with a mother-in-law suite or enough land to place a trailer for his mother to live, because it would benefit everyone if she were in Gainesville where he can easily transport her to her doctor’s appointments and grocery store visits, etc. She has severe vision problems, a by-product of diabetes. (Why can’t I say that word without conjuring up Wilfred Brimley? “Diabeetus.”) I also want to make sure I’m in a place where I can assist my parents and grandmother, if necessary, as they grow older and find themselves with more needs.
But someday, my gypsy spirit needs to find a caravan, and I’m dreaming of a caravan on the water. A houseboat. Maybe in Cedar Key, in the land of the biting sand gnats, so we’re still close to family? I haven’t worked out the details yet. I know I don’t want one of the semi-permanent dwellings like in that article, though. I want a real boat, maybe a pirate ship.
In the alternative, I could find myself “settling” for a treehouse built Swiss-Family-Robinson style. At least, until my knees give out. Yeah, maybe not such a good idea, considering Adam’s got two bad knees.
A pirate ship it is, then.