This time tomorrow I’ll be in northern California – enjoying a glass of wine with great friends and plotting our antics for the coming days.
I’ve got a small love affair in my mind with that area of the country. Everyone appears to be healthy. They love Mother Earth. They appreciate great food. They know their wine. Farming is a way of life that coexists with mountain bikers, gourmet chefs, options traders and hybrid cars. They don’t fight the weather and, in return, they’re rewarded with a mild climate that’s tough to hate.
Whenever I’m returning to a place I love, I get nervous. What if I love it so much that I don’t want to leave? What if I will forever compare my life in Chicago to the fairy tale life I’ve created for myself as a goat farmer in Sonoma? (It should be noted that in the latter I have a gorgeous husband who is quite handy and loves to give me killer scalp massages. My fake life also features an on-call spa and a personal cook to grease the wheels of my oh-so-strenuous work.)
Eventually I assuage my anxieties by remembering that IF the goat farm was mine, it’s true I’d have access to killer chevre all year round. But I’d also be tethered to my life there, and I’d be unable to take all of my grand adventures. I also have to admit that I love the four seasons we get here in the midwest. I could do without the severity of January and February, but I’m also so glad for variety.
Could it be that my California Dream is unattainable and unrealistic? Is it possible that I concoct these fantasies as a means to escape from the reality of the daily grind? Yes and Yes. But here’s the thing – isn’t that why we scrimp and save and plan for a getaway? To do just that – get away and escape?
Realizing this, I’m less nervous that I’ll channel my inner Little Bo Peep while I’m driving through the Russian River Valley. I’m now more excited that I’ll get to entertain myself by playing make believe for just a little while.
And you have to admit that giving into your dreams is a lot less messy than cleaning up after a herd of goats!