I have a house with a big backyard that borders a wood. There are trails through the wood ripe for exploring, with ponds to wade in and trees to climb and nooks to build clubhouses in. You can hear the crickets in the summer, the frogs in spring, watch leaves fall in autumn, and the snow fall in the winter.
There is a spot nearby perfect for drinking wine and watching the sun set. We spend lots of time outside, in every season.
This house has extra bedrooms, so there’s enough room for the people who will come visit us. It has a fireplace, and big windows that let in lots of light. It’s an old house, but not so old everything keeps breaking; just old enough to retain its character.
This house is within walking distance of town, where there are coffee shops and a nice little pub. It is surrounded by friendly neighbors our kids can play with. It is not too far from our families.
We have a few kids. They are healthy, mentally and physically. So are we. I have a writing room or cabin I can go to every day if I want. Maybe I work part time outside the house, but it’s something I like, not necessarily something I need. I have time to do yoga and cook and play the piano.
I have a few bestselling books and the time to work on them. At least one of them is epic, and wins awards. I have friends in the literary community whom I admire and respect, and they admire and respect me. My books get translated into other languages and I get to go to Paris to promote them.
We buy a second home in France and go there on vacations and invite everyone to come. It is a modest stone house in the countryside somewhere. Maybe it’s even a small chateau. We go every year. It has vines on the outside and a vineyard nearby. It has tapestries on the wall, and stone statues out front. Maybe even one peeing into a fountain.
We have friends nearby, so close we don’t really need to make plans with them—we can just stop by. Our kids play together. We make pizza on Fridays. I have a garden where some things grow, especially tomatoes. I learn how to pickle things, like shallots.
We have enough money to live comfortably. My husband is happy with his job, whether it’s at home or in office part time. Our cats are happy. They settle down and stop knocking things over at night. We have a basement where we keep their litter box.
I learn how to clean properly, or there is someone nearby I can hire to do it. The house is usually clean. Never perfect, but good enough for me.
Our house has built-in bookshelves for all our books. We have enough stuff to fill the house, but not so much it’s cluttered. We have art and photos that mean something hanging on the walls. Each child has his or her own room. Their school is nearby, and it’s a good school. They have hobbies, like drawing or playing an instrument, or writing, like me. They are good kids.
The world is not a dumpster fire. Sanity returns to this country and things slowly improve. We continue donating to charities.
We travel with our children every year.
Maybe we get a medium-sized, well-behaved dog. Or two.
Maybe we get some chickens. And a goat.
We have a swing hanging from a tree. Or a wooden swing set, to match our treehouse.
Some of the people we see regularly are nerds like me. We can talk about interesting things like books and Buffy and philosophy.
I wear long dresses and not a lot of makeup and am happy with the way I look. I don’t worry so much about wrinkles and thighs. I go barefoot a lot, when it’s warm out.
Maybe we have a small pool, bordered with stone. In summer we lie out on the grass in the sun, and then watch the sun go down and the lightning bugs come out. Our children play outside all day with the neighbors, only coming in for dinnertime. We have a fire pit. We go camping nearby when we can.
In winter, we light fires every night and sit around reading, sometimes out loud. We don’t spend a lot of time with screens.
We listen to classical music and French music and drink red wine and eat good cheese and fresh baguettes. There is a bakery nearby, and a farmer’s market. My cooking gets really good because I have time to practice and we use seasonal ingredients. We eat a lot of galettes.
There is a brewery nearby and we befriend the owners. Maybe there’s also a vineyard.
We get enough sleep. We compost and recycle and are not wasteful. We see our families regularly. Family drama is minimal.
God exists and he watches over us and those we love. Life is long and full and good.