I’ve been thinking a lot about the living dream I had for my life in my late seventies and well into my eighties.  Dad is ninety-five, vibrant, active and sharp as a tack even though we disagree politically.  So, it didn’t seem like a stretch to envision my life as a very senior citizen.

I pictured myself a writer of spirituality and self-esteem.  A prolific writer at that!  I would live on the coast of Maine in a small village, with a lively intellectually curious community of people of diverse age.  I pictured myself going to the mailbox daily, to see if my story had been selected for publishing in a popular magazine.  My two dogs would follow me, wagging their tails the whole time.  I would breathe the salty air deep into my lungs and thank God for my good fortune to be living this life that I have chosen.

My home, a simple New England type of Cape Cod structure, would be on a pretty lot surrounded by a picket fence.  Yes, a picket fence, and a gate.  There would be many beautiful gardens and, in the springtime, daffodils would pop up all over the grass in no particular organized way, like polka dots on a chintz dress.  Window boxes on the front windows, a working fireplace upstairs and down, and fine old pine floorboards, marked forever from the running footsteps of children and dogs.

It would be furnished pragmatically but tastefully, a vision of coziness and welcome.  The smells of herbs, flowers and organic foods would contribute to the feeling of comfort-centered environment.  A beautiful place to be growing old.

I would be filled with the pleasant memories of a life well-lived.  Memories of babies, and grandbabies, husbands and fathers, blended families and the love affair of my life with Chris would bring me pleasure.

I would be an active member of the community who, like me, leaned left in their political agenda.  The people in the community who leaned right, would be bright and thoughtful, providing stimulating, respectful conversation that enriched all of the participants.

We would have gifted musicians come to our community to play in our chamber group; and the local theater would be one of the best for miles around.  Many artists would make their homes nearby.

My favorite activity would be to work in my garden.  There would be so many lovely varieties of roses, some that grew on trellises by the front door, which made visitors feel like royalty entering my humble abode.

A great old chestnut tree in the front yard would provide shade in summer and would hold a wonderful swing, enticing the neighborhood children.  I would have loved to hear their giggles as they pumped high into the sky.

I would enjoy the visits of my children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  There would be ample room for any of them to stay for as long as they wanted.  I would be an active and integral part of their lives, regardless of how far apart we lived physically.

The TV would seldom be on.  A typical evening would consist of my reading with a crackling (real) fire  and two cats purring in my lap.  Dogs on the floor by my feet.  The smell of minestrone soup on the stove.  freshly baked bread would await the knife on the wooden cutting board.

Ah, the memories of this dream enchant me.  While this imagined life will undoubtedly elude me, it still brings me pleasure to envision it.  Perhaps in another incarnation this will become my reality, or, perhaps, in an earlier incarnation it was my reality.  It matters little, really.   The pleasure is in creating the dream, taking it out of my pocket every now and then and savoring every morsel like a perfect chocolate chip cookie.

Dear readers, what is your dream?  A bit of advice from me to you.  Dream it.  Create it.  Don’t just leave it to happenstance.  Dream the perfect dream for you, devoid of others’ expectations and whether or not you ever realize it won’t matter because the dream will be enough. It will be enough.

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