A Long and Beautiful Dream

I was so tired last night. My sweetheart FaceTimed me at 7pm, early for him. We usually check in after 9, a goodnight chat. Ever since Thanksgiving he’s taken to FaceTime, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love seeing him, I hate being seen. The vane me wants to check my appearance, but I can’t without my glasses on, and I feel like I look old and haggard enough without them. And my arm gets tired holding the phone up high to give me the best angle.

Ah the injustices of age.

Even at 7 I was wiped out, yawning and rubbing my eyes. It had been a long day. I worked, I wrote, I saw Tabby, I hiked in the cold. It feels good to be tired. It feels good to come home and gratefully heat up leftovers.

The boys joined me in my tiny house for movie night. We watched The Mandalorian and some Community. They were going strong while I faded. I climbed the ladder to my loft, inviting them to stay and enjoy while I drifted away to the sound of the show and their soft bickering. It was an oddly soothing sensation. It felt more like home than entertaining them in a hotel room. It felt good.

I was asleep by 9:30, early for me. I worried I would wake up at 2am and need a podcast to bore me back to sleep. But I didn’t, I slept until 6:30, blissfully rested after several days of troubled sleep. I had a dream …

My sweetheart bought a parking garage in Salida, a small city in southwest Colorado. I don’t particularly love Salida but I go often enough, passing through on my way to Valley View. It is too arid for my taste, but still. It’s a charming little place, I doubt a parking structure even exists there …

He bought a parking structure and we moved there together. It was unclear whether it was his or ours. The huge space transformed every time I turned around. Unlike an actual parking structure it had wooden floors and was flooded with light and high ceilings, but there was this feeling of continuity from one floor to the next.

He moved in large antiques, giant armoires and shelves that took up entire walls, transforming the space into more than a warm home, an entire ecology. It was big enough for full-grown fig trees, tall enough for me to stand under with the leaves just brushing the top of my head. It was magical and beautiful, it kept improving. There was even a large gym with weights and plenty of floor space. Friends came pouring up the ramp as there were no doors to keep anyone out. We welcomed them, hesitating a moment before hugging them.

Covid was over, but distrust lingered, we had to remind ourselves that we need not fear them.

I was so happy to see them but I also felt the need to preserve my own space, to not have my home taken over by the needs of others. I didn’t want to give up my privacy, I wanted to reserve the right to be the gatekeeper of my own domain.

I don’t know what time I woke up, but I turned the dream over and over in my head, which might be the same as still dreaming. These days I observe. How do I feel? What is different now? There has been a shift within me away from needfulness. I am happy. I like my work – I don’t need to unwind from it – I just leave it behind knowing that I added value. I love my writing gig. I have always dreamt about homes, both real and imagined. Ones like this signify expansiveness and hope.

I love how I live. Now I question whether I need more. Do I really need a second floor? This existence I’ve eked out once felt diminished, the way I don’t belong anywhere, but that feeling has changed and it will likely change again in the next four years. I must keep reminding myself that there is no such thing as forever. Nothing remains static. My gift is my ability to pivot and solve problems. I must trust that about myself, truly believe that I will always be okay because of my innate ability to turn situations over in my head until I see things a different way and find solutions, if not opportunities. I mean, I was able to turn squatting in a garage, pissing in a bucket, and drinking from a garden hose into a delightful experience that many strive for when you call it Tiny Living.

The goal is the same, live with less so you have more freedom.

Yes, I would love a second floor, but I am content with what I am doing now and I am relieved that it is all well within my means. I don’t relish taking on more debt than my mortgage. For the first time in my life I am truly independent. I revel in the choice that affords me, the integrity in my relationships that I feel. I am here because I want to be.

I am not choosing relationships because I need something from them other than loving connection. My body and my effort are no longer a commodity to be traded. I am at the place I was hoping to be at before I started a new relationship, but I’m here now.

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