A few years ago, on a rare, non-sweltering summer evening in the sandhills of North Carolina, my husband and I sat on our back deck with a couple of grilled steaks and a couple of micro brews, watching our dogs play in the yard and talking wistfully about our hopes and our dreams.
I talked about my hopes and my dreams, while Justin sat contemplative and content. I was fishing for something.
My incessant babble was, most likely, a plea for commiseration. “I’d like us to take a year off and travel the world when you retire from the Air Force. I mean, you’ll only be 38, and that gives us enough time to save. We could go anywhere. See anything. And then one day it might be nice to just buy a ramshackle beach resort on the coast of Nicaragua. You know, get away from all of these pressures and learn about what’s really important in life. I could run the hospitality end of the business since — well — I actually like people, and you could… I don’t know… be in charge of breakfasts. It could be fun for a couple of years! We could learn SCUBA and hike volcanoes and adopt a pet monkey.
“Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?”
Justin gave me a smile and a slight laugh and gazed across our confined patch of earth, where the dogs wrestled in the dirt amongst the patchy grass and paw-carved holes.
“Did I ever tell you I wanted to run a sustainable eco resort for rich people in Australia?” I asked, trying again. ”You know, back when I first started studying environmental policy and sustainability, and then I quit school and had all of that time to think — I was going to move to Australia because that was one of the few places with schools offering degrees in sustainability. Can you believe that? Now it’s a trend. Sustainability. I totally should’ve jumped at the head of that horse when I had the chance. By now, I’d be like the leading guru on self-sustaining eco resorts. With yoga. And we’d raise our own goats. Way Down Under. Or wherever. It felt like nowhere was too far away from home, you know? I finally realized my life was in my hands.