Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dreams Of New England

I've written before in detail about how I worry about the future. I've also written about how I make up random and elaborate plans for the future. I usually see this as a bad thing, or a sign that I'm not trusting God enough with my life. That may be true when it comes to the worry, but I don't think it's always true when it comes to the plans.

Now, I'm using "plans" here in a very relative sense. I'm not actually putting it on my agenda and really going for these goals. They are more like carefully-researched dreams. I think about them, and instead of leaving them in the realm of half-baked ideas, I decide to do a little research to make them more real. Usually they revolve around places where I want to live instead of jobs I want to do or exotic destinations I want to travel to. Yeah, most of my dreams are mundane.

I'm stuck in North Carolina for four years after I'm done with college (or graduate school, if I decide to do that immediately after college). It's part of my teaching contract which is paying for my education right now. After that, though, I'm kind of itching to get out of the state. Don't get me wrong, I think North Carolina is great. In fact, I love it, and if you're looking for a good state to move to, I highly suggest it.

However, I just want to be somewhere else. I've planned to live in Seattle before, and also Dayton, Ohio and College Station, Texas. Currently, my dreams lie in New England. To be exact, I think I want to live in Vermont. There are few reasons for this. For one, even though I live in what I like to call the Los Angeles of the Carolinas, I'm really a fan of colder weather. Autumn is my favorite season, and I'm also a fan of small towns and villages. Vermont's largest city, Burlington, is the size of my home town, which isn't even in the top ten of North Carolina's biggest cities.

Now, granted, I've never visited Vermont (or New England at all). But I have friends and family who live there or have visited and they all sing its praises. Looking at pictures, it really is special. In North Carolina, you have to live at the mountains or the beaches to get beautiful scenery. A lot of Vermont just looks unspoiled and crisp, and I like that. So yeah, right now when I picture my adult self, I see him as a Southern guy living in the small town of West Rutland, Vermont. Why West Rutland? Because even Burlington is too big for me right now.

I just picture myself teaching at West Rutland's high school (which, yes, I've also researched), and eventually (once I've published some fiction), teaching at Castleton State College, which is pictured above and is nearby (I looked it up on Google Maps). And of course I don't just imagine myself in this weird dream future. I think right now I would like to adopt three children (if I'm married or partnered or whatever, I don't know. That never enters my future plans because I really do leave it up to God).

Now, I'm not the kind of parent who would plan my children's lives for them ahead of time, but... I have kind of imaged that my oldest son would attend University of Vermont, my middle child (a girl) would go to Johnson State College, and my youngest son would go to Vermont Tech. Yes, I know I'm crazy and need to find something better to do with my time.

Maybe if my desire to live in New England doesn't die down in six years, I'll make it there. I got to settle down somewhere and somewhere far away from home doesn't bother me at all. Of course, the other dreams about where I'll work and how many kids I'll have (and where they'll go to college) are not very likely, but hey, that's why they're called dreams.

I promise I'll have less of a rambling post and get back to gay/ex-gay stuff soon. Right now I just feel like going off on tangents, and what would this blog be if I didn't just do what I felt like doing? Take care, everyone!


otrolado said...

Haha, that is so specific! I do recommend Vermont. I have not been in over a decade, but I remember it being delightful.

Pomoprophet said...

your poor kids! :)

My BF wants to get his PhD and a couple of the few places he can get it are in New England. Connecticut and New Hampshire to be exact. I dunno how I feel about that. Its nothing like Cali and Cali is the best!

Ophir said...

Cali is indeed the best! Assuming, that is, that we're talking about the Golden State and not the Colombian city. I'm sure that's a nice place too, provided you don't get kidnapped.

If I were going to settle down in New England (I've never been) I think I'd prefer New Hampshire or Maine. I don't know if Vermont is meant to be even prettier, but in my mind it associates with hippies, nudists and Howard Dean. Whereas New Hampshire associates with "Live Free or Die".

Why are you sending each of your hypothetical kids to a different college and why are you confining them to Vermont?

I know exactly how you feel though with the fantasizing about moving somewhere different or travelling extensively. And you think West Rutland is small and cold, that's nothing compared to my strange fixation with the Arctic. It may partially be the fact that I prefer cold weather and I so hate living in heat and humidity. Of course I don't think I've ever been in temperatures below zero, let alone in subarctic and Arctic climates, so I'm sure I don't appreciate just how excruciating the cold be.

Rose said...

Aww, I love your dream! It's just wonderful, and I hope it all comes true just as you imagine. You're going to be a terrific dad and teacher too - it just shines through your writing.

P said...

I've been to Rutland. Icy skiing, cozy coffeeshops and the kind of black flies that can send a person to the ER.

Its charming though, for sure. You can become a great bump skiier, mountain biker and fall color gazer. And maybe, just maybe, you'll become the first famous writer to call New England home :)

Jay said...

Otrolado: I know. That's just how I roll - very specific. :)

Pomoprophet: I've thought of Southern California before. Specifically Biola University for grad school work if I wanted a more religiously-centered continued education. I can imagine it's gorgeous, but I've had sun and fun my whole life. I could go for a bit more coolness.

Ophir: I think all of New Hampshire-Maine-Vermont area has its share of hippies. Having been raised by them, though, I can't say I mind. :)

And of course I wouldn't limit my kids to Vermont. I was just looking through Vermont's public colleges and the three I mentioned were other ones I had seen before settling on Castleton. Good luck with the Arctic! I have a friend who lived near Fairbanks, Alaska this summer and loved it.

Rose: Thanks Rose! I hope your dreams, whatever they are, come true as well!

P: Well, Rutland's flies can't be worse than NC's mosquitoes. And you're right. New England is so unrepresented when it comes to writing. There are just NO famous writers there. I'll be one of the first, I'm sure. ;-)

bryan said...

Jay, as long as you don't turn your plans into your god and become closed to anything else other than what you decided happening, I don't think you should worry about it. Maybe think of them as 'life sketches' instead of 'life plans'. I think that the biggest problems with plans is that sometimes we get so attached to them, when they don't come true we get upset and feel like we lost something. Then we end up whining and fail to see any good coming out of the situation. So as long as you are open to change, which I'm sure you are, I don't think you should worry.

About the plans themselves, I think they are great. :) Best of luck, Jay. (And is continuing this blog anywhere in that plan of yours? I would love it if it continued, since you're, you know, awesome.)

BTW, I think it's funny how you've assigned genders and colleges(!) to all your children. I've thought about my future children lots of times too, but maybe not as much as yours. ;) But you know, if you adopt, I hear you are supposed to adopt according to what you imagined. So your plans could actually have some merit there. Although, I can't be sure about what college they'd go to. :)

Rose said...

Actually, Jay, my dreams were pretty similar to yours, and they certainly did come true. My partner and I have been together for 16 years, have a beautiful daughter (I wanted just one, rather than your ambitious 3), we ended up in New England for 6 glorious years, and I now have my dream job on the faculty of a major research university. Ilive on the perfect little farm, and raise my chickens and cowes and horses; it just panned out.

Keep dreaming, keep working - there's nothing you've dreamed that you can't achieve (except for pcking out your kids' colleges - good luck with that!).

MR said...


I see why you are a fiction writer. You have an unusually creative and uh...uninhibited mind. Don't let life's pressures take away your dreams.

Now for the other side of cold climates. Have you ever had to wait days for the temperature to go above 32 so your frozen fuel filter will thaw and let your engine start? Have you ever had your drain pipe freeze so you can't use your shower? Have you ever slid sideways driving down an icy hill? I have. None of these were fun at the time but they all gave me adventures and stories to tell.

Jay said...

Bryan: I like the idea of "life sketches." Like I said, I was just being random when I assigned my hypothetical children colleges, and I think the number and genders of them were inspired by my own siblings, whom I have a great relationship with.

Rose: Oh, that sounds just lovely! I was raised near farms, but obviously Southern farms are very different from Northern ones. Still, I'm a small-town boy and likely always will be.

MR: I guess I'm just tired of constant nice weather. Yeah, it's great that I can go to the beach in November, but I would actually like to have to wear a sweater and see snow. Yeah, it's a little more difficult, but there's just something about colder climates that draw me in.

Devlin said...

Hi Jay,

I have read your writings and really find them quite admirable.

I have had times when worry has simmered with confusion. It's those times when I had to look inside and find out where my trust issues lie, and lie. It's kind of like getting to know what I wasn't, to know who I truly am. It always boiled down to a fear about something. And fear is suuuch a troublesome little add-on to our true perfection.
Being a Catholic Virgo, I can be quite fixed, and itsabitch sometimes.
Nevertheless, here is a little advice that I got from a dear friend that you might like when sketching out your beautiful dreams:
1) Follow your excitement and all your dreams will come true.
2) Live your humanity while carefully choosing your add-ons. 3) Allow truth to be your authority, rather than authority to be your truth.

Getting to know you better now Jay. Thanks for being the light beam you truly are.


Devlin Bach