A New Dream

I've always been a dreamer to one extent or another. As a ten year old, after watching Back to the Future Part II, I dreamed of one day riding an actual hoverboard. In high school, I had dreams of becoming a songwriter or a radio DJ with my own morning show.

Now, the grown up me dreams of being a good dad and seeing my kids make world-changing contributions to society when they grow up. I dream of having a book published. I dream of losing weight. My insatiable and unrequited wanderlust dreams of travels to see destinations from New Zealand's Hobbiton to the remaining Tatooine sets in Tunisia. I long to climb to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro and attend a church service at Paisley Abbey in Scotland - with a small detour to see Loch Ness. My inner dork wants to own a Mini Cooper and a Cadillac Escalade XL, and have those two vehicles parked side-by-side in my driveway.

It's good to dream. Of course, we should set goals and work towards achievements. But there is something special about having dreams, especially when you have someone with whom you can share those dreams. Even if it is an unachievable vision or silly daydream, imagining the possibilities of where your life could go builds feelings of hope and optimism. Looking at the state of the world today, we could all use a little more hope and optimism.

These days, I'm starting to see a new dream. One that is shared. One that the more I think about it the more it sounds appealing.

Life on a farm or ranch.

I know what you're thinking. You want to know what logic I have dreaming a rural lifestyle. Me, the person who has spent his entire life in the suburbs. Me, the kid who grew up in the shadow of Seattle, shunning country music for the grunge and punk rock that hit peak popularity as I came of age. Me, the geek, video gamer, and cinephile; the urbanite who finds comfort in the sound of traffic, the feel of large crowds, and the sight of city skylines lit up at night.

And you might be right. Despite attending a high school nicknamed Cow-Pie High, I am the last person you'd expect to enjoy the day to day life with livestock and acreage. My exposure to ranches is limited to guided horseback trail rides at summer camp. My experience with farms is nothing more than the smell of bovine manure wafting over the fence during football home games in the MPHS stadium. I enjoy my five minute commute to work. I appreciate having a Subway, a Jack-In-The-Box, and a MOD Pizza within walking distance of my apartment.

Yet I have a new dream. Weekend before last, my girlfriend invited me out to see her horses. They're boarded with a friend of hers who has a barn and large pastures and the space to train horses. We hung out with her and a few others that also have horses staying there. Porch lights shone instead of streetlights. Traffic noises were replaced with chirping crickets, honking geese, and clucking chickens. I watched the sun set with nothing but trees lining the horizon. I rode a horse in an open pasture late into the night. While there, a thought crossed my mind: I could get used to this.

I pictured the kids playing in the fields - chasing grasshoppers in summer and snowball fights in winter. I envisioned warm nights sipping on a mojito and lounging in a hammock next to a campfire without worry of neighbors interrupting my chillaxation. I could see myself saddling up on a horse for recreation on a regular basis.

This isn't a random hypothetical thought experiment born after a single night socializing in a rural environment and spending a couple hours on horseback. I wouldn't be having these thoughts if it were not for several conversations I have had with my girlfriend over the last year. Then my oldest son admitted that he doesn't want neighbors.

Some background: my girlfriend wants to find property in the middle of nowhere that is big enough for her family and her horses. She wants goats and chickens. She wants fruit trees and a garden. She will ask me random questions out of the blue like "If I got a pig, would you help raise it?" Or "Could you eat the meat of an animal that you helped raise?" When she asked me if I would enjoy living out in the middle of the woods, I told her I could live anywhere as long as I have wifi.

If things work out between us, the chance of me following my girlfriend into the country isn’t just a possibility, but an inevitability. I don't find this proposition intimidating, but alluring.

This is where my new dream begins. In this vision, I would contribute to the chores of feeding and caring for animals. My breakfast would be made with fresh picked cherries and recently laid eggs. While the kids are at their mom's house, I could work a part time job or volunteer somewhere. And days when the kids are staying with me, I could drive into town, drop them off at school, then take my laptop to Starbucks to spend the day working on my next book until school is out and we all return home.

Obviously, we can't do this right now. This is a dream about how the future could look. If I want it to be a reality, I need to get a publishing contract. If I want to get a contract, I need to have a book. Which means I need to finish my manuscript. Which means I need to hustle. Because when it comes to a ranch life, I could get used to it.


  1. sounds pretty good to me. My wife and I were both raised in much smaller towns than we were living in when we met. both had spent our childhoods raising pigs and chickens and such. We don't have any of that yet, but one of the most important things for us while house hunting was being able to sit out on a back porch - and see nobody.

    1. I didn't have a porch to sit on growing up so that's a new experience for me. And it's nice.