I've been dreaming about men other than my husband. Last night, for example, Dave Eggers and I, each chastely in our own sleeping bags, laid face-to-face discussing trucker hats and real estate with a most delicious and thrilling intimacy. The night before that, I went to the Laundromat with Avi Avital, an Israeli mandolin player I met recently through a friend. We may have held hands, but mostly we were just in the laundromat, enjoying each others company.
As you can see, these are not hot and heavy sex dreams. They are hot and heavy getting-along dreams. Dreams in which mere conversation can be thrilling, a sexless buzz of electricity quite enough. They are dreams about being seen in a way that it is nearly impossible to be seen after nine years and seven months of marriage. They are, I think, a form of nostalgia.
I've been feeling nostalgic about a lot of things lately. I wept embarrassingly during a preschool slide show set to Prince's Purple Rain. It was as if I could see this marvelous and amazing moment in my sweet children's lives slipping away and I was missing it in advance. I find myself feeling intense pangs of college-withdrawal. I make lists in my head of all the things I am now too old to become: Olympic gymnast, ballerina, stripper, Jane Goodall's star pupil. It's all very un-Buddhist of me, this mourning for the past, this clinging to the present.
It stems in large part from being 40 and wondering what I am going to do with my life. I'm working on a novel, sure, but I've been down that road before. I'm raising kids, but if I am to believe what all the 50-something women are constantly telling me, that's going to be over in a flash. And then what?
Seriously, then what? All suggestions most welcome. Extra points if you can come up with something that saves the world and requires very little extra schooling and allows me to live in a place with indoor plumbing. And I don't want to be a teacher, so you can forget that one.
And then there is this, via Decorno. I had never heard of Neko Case (what?!) but if I could sing like her all my problems would be moot. Please listen to it. It's enough to make you weep.