From the Braver Institute
I find that where I am in life, and where I live are both fairly comfortable things. Sure, I could use more money, but that’s no surprise. I could use a little more closet space, but what I have is adequate. I could really use a pole barn, but honestly, who couldn’t? I would like to live in a quieter, more remote location, and … okay, hold it. That’s enough talk about the things I don’t have, but could use. I have no reason to complain. Where life has taken me so far has been pretty good, all things considered, but it certainly isn’t remotely close to what I had planned.
When you are a teenager, you can see with absolute clarity the way your life will unfold (or at least I could). You may say things to give the impression that you don’t know what is going to happen, just so older people who can’t see the future as clearly as a young person will shut up about no one knowing what the future holds.
It was all very clear to me that in the not too distant future, like three weeks after high school, my friends and I would all chip in together and buy a sizeable chunk of land, most likely on a lake, or a navigable river at least. When you are young you know that you want to be with your friends for the rest of your life.
We would build a grand lodge where we would all stay. It would be big enough that we would all have our own living quarters. There would be the great room, which would serve as the gathering area where we would smoke cigarettes and drink beer while planning the adventures that we were sure to embark on.
To pay for it all, the days would find us off at our respective jobs, unless it was the weekend, and then we would be fishing or hunting. Money is no object in the future of a teenager. You work hard at the job you love doing, and since you love doing it, it isn’t really work. You can’t help but become wealthy enough to fulfill all of your dreams.
And what grand lodge would be complete without a grand garage? A garage is needed to store all of the vehicles your future holds. My grocery-getter would be a 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500-KR Mustang, which was sort of like a regular Ford Mustang on piles of steroids. You don’t need to be practical in the for-sure future of a teen.
As time would go on, we would all meet and marry the girls of our dreams. Of course, as we married off we would all need places of our own, so we would work together and build individual houses for our soon-to-be growing families.
These houses would be built in a semi-circular pattern around the lodge, which would remain the center of our social activity. The rooms that we once called our own would then become quarters for our never ending stream of houseguests.
Of course our wives would simply love living a life that revolved around their husband’s friends and families. Who wouldn’t? They would all be the best of friends too. All of our children would grow up together, and they would all be pals as well. Life would be perfect in our waterfront compound.
Later, I would come to realize that my dream life, with all of its grand lodge and compound trappings, would most likely have looked less like a grand lodge and compound, and more like the remote hovel in the commune scene from Easy Rider. Life has a funny way of being more realistic than the for-sure future.
I also find it more than a little funny that the reality I somehow didn’t see coming was slowly making me more reclusive. The dream of being with my friends all of the time started to look more like a nightmare. Not that any of them were bad to be around, but the need to be with my friends all of the time was slipping away, and I began to cherish the time I spent alone.
Early on, instead of the grand lodge of the plan, I found myself living in a one room, tarpaper shack in the middle of the woods. The only waterfront on my property was the shore of whatever water managed to collect at the bottom of an old gravel pit a little further back in the woods.
Don’t get me wrong, I was not living in misery. I was just living a different dream. I loved my time in the woods, and in spite of its shortcomings, I loved my shack.
Eventually I did leave the shack and move to a more traditional house, and even a grand lodge similar to that of the original plan, minus all of the friends.
These days I live again in a more traditional house, and I am fairly content there. It has everything I need … except maybe that pole barn.
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