Another Life


I have to confess–I’ve been fantasizing about another life. I’ve been furtively perusing rental properties in New York and London, and thinking of having a child. I’ve been imagining stepping out of a flat, greeting a doorman, and hitting the sidewalk of a bustling metropolis, walking to dinner each night (wearing a cute outfit and cuter shoes) or carrying groceries home, taking taxi cabs or the subway (in the London case “the tube”) all around town. I’ll be slimmer from all the walking! The sound of the city would always be outside my window! If I get bored, I could just go for walks around town!

And likewise, in a weird turn of events, I’ve been thinking (AGAIN! After I laid the baby beast to bed and muffled the biological clock!) of having a child. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a daughter or son (and I’ve debating between the two–AS IF I HAD A CHOICE)? To have an expanding family? Walk in a stroller around town? (Again–I would be slimmer from all the walking!)

Yes, I know those two things (relocating to a new town or country and living a hustle-bustle life and having a child) don’t necessarily go together, but you see, that’s the point. I’ve been looking for alternatives to my own life and my own setting.

My life as it is, is very very very good by most people’s standards. I live in a beautiful neighborhood, in a city that balances urban and surburban with a colorful flair. The weather is fantastic. I love my place. I don’t have a child–I get to sleep in on the weekends and run my own schedule. There is lots of love in our household. And my friends with children? Their babies are so darling, but after a few hours with the sweet children, I’m exhausted. I have no idea how my friends can keep going 24/7. Not to mention that I am challenged when it comes to my fertility. So I mystify even myself as to why I’m doing this, why I’m casting about for another setting and another trajectory.

I’m going to try to focus on this life and appreciating it more, even though at times I am inexplicably unsatisfied. I feel guilty in saying it, but sometimes I feel my own life is not enough. Am I so greedy as to want more? Yes. It’s awful. I want it all! But I know I can’t have it all.

So–maybe I’ll get my characters pregnant, maybe allow them to visit London or New York.

And I–I’ll walk out my door and breathe the air deeply. Force myself to smile, until the smile becomes genuine.

I’m going to check out new restaurants, see my city as new again.

I can’t fall into the trap doors I set up every few years for myself. Now is the time to be even better to myself, and keep myself on the healthy path, keep myself from trashing and poo-poo’ing what I have. Most of all, I want to be happy.



Filed under Life

14 responses to “Another Life

  1. That itch for a change arrives whether we welcome it or not. Interesting idea to have your characters live it out for you vicariously. I wonder if that would work.

  2. Your post so reminds me of a discussion we had not long ago with a young writer friend. She had just completed her Masters in Creative Writing, published her first book, and seeing all her friends with their infants and children felt broody. Her husband brought out the argument that she was fulcrumed on the crux of one completion and anticipating the “what next” phase in her life, and that the tension drove her to wish for what she did not have. I find it intridueing that this seems to be a place where you find yourself also. Maybe these desires can be given useful life in your writing – that is a good question you have posed for yourself. G

  3. ha! don’t go into babygap. it’s a trap i tellya.

    fantasizing is cool, it opens your mind up to stuff it would never consider before, which may or may not come to anything…

  4. Well, I am in the same, no similar place as you, but the next phase. I’m facing an impending half-empty nest and having major fantasies about “what next.” I feel very compelled to somehow parent more children, but since my husband does not share this compulsion, I’m feeling kind of stuck. I dream about living on the East coast again.

    I think it’s totally natural for humans, when one period of life ends we need to know what is next.

    BTW, I loooove that leaf picture.

  5. P.S. Children ARE exhausting, but when they’re your own children, there really isn’t any choice, is there? I think that’s why other peoples’ children always are so exhausting. When you life with it 24/7, one adapts to the exhaustion and it feels normal.

    And: you do have a choice. You always have a choice when it comes to these things.

  6. Steve

    I have often felt as you do, that moving away somewhere different would change me. But Horace said:

    Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare current.

    “The sky but not their souls they change who move across the ocean.”

    Writing a story or making a list of all the things I love about where I am now has been helpful to me.

  7. DO IT ALL!
    If there’s one thing I totally regret, it’s not going forward on things I felt like oh maybe I can’t do now. Now I feel like I could do anything I just need to find the time…

    And now I’ve got this kid who is totally kicking my ass. But yes, the love is just crazy. Which is why he’s kicking my ass.

    Today we went to this company kiddie day at my huz’s place of work. And we drove through Tribeca afterwards.

    I would LOVE to live in Tribeca. I’ve put the thought in my huz’s head.

  8. After working in a daycare, I was convinced that children are not for me. I make a great uncle, but would be a terribly unhappy father. I enjoy my freedom way too much to get bogged down unnecessarily!

  9. heather

    Oh, Jade. Write out the alternative lives! That’s the only way I could start writing fiction–imagining what would have happened if. My own “completion panic” set in yesterday, just a few hours after I posted grades for my class. (Of course, there will be more of that soon enough.) Somehow that made the end of the term sink in, however, and that’s when I realized I finished my degree and now I have to keep writing. Eeek!

  10. London and New York. Two amazing cities. I’ve always wanted to live in either as well. Or Paris. And Amsterdam. I want it all, I guess. About the kid thing; get a cat, if you’re not ready for the big leap into motherhood (is one ever?). Cats are low maintenance πŸ˜‰

  11. tiv: I’m hoping my characters can live these lives fully.

    suburbanlife: the whole “what next” feeling is just a nauseating feeling, isn’t it?

    no milk: i’m all for fantasies!

    Susan: that feeling of being stuck is awful.

    Steve: your insight is very wise–thank you for the Horace quote. πŸ™‚ It keeps me from running away for sure.

    arirang: Tribeca is cool! Yes, I’m debating which Manhattan neighborhood I WOULD live in (in my fantasy) and I’m debating between uptown and downtown… πŸ˜›

    Kimchihead: I love that you know what you want and don’t want!

    heather: Yah, this panic is awful! I wish I’d been warned! I thought I wasn’t set for a panic for at least a decade.

    harmonie22: I am limiting myself to English-speaking cities. πŸ™‚ Though Paris and Amsterdam are sooo wonderful. The cat idea is great–but I’ve got 2 dogs! They suffice, most of the time.

  12. Eric

    Pop into a Zen meditation class. Trust me. You’ll learn to appreciate what you have that much more after numbing your butt for hours on end. πŸ™‚ Work’
    d for me! πŸ™‚

  13. Eric: I think Zen meditation class does not work for Parker Posey types like me! There needs to be an interim step!

  14. Pingback: not knowing « Writing Under a Pseudonym

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