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Reflections on local intentions in this eighth year of my Boston residency, and a long melancholy weekend at the end of summer, has pushed me to think about what my forward intentions actually are. Now that I’m done with grad school (*weeps with relief*), doing the whole “emerging professional” thing at a job a genuinely like, married with two cats, I’m like … so what’s next, life?

View from the Sylvia Beach Hotel (Newport, Ore.), 24 Sept 2013.

I never really had a plan, per se. I mean, I almost didn’t go to college? I was emotionally allergic to school and considered some sort of roguish apprenticeship instead. I wanted to run a writer’s colony in the U.P. (“upper peninsula” for you non-Michiganders), feed people and fix septic systems, maybe have a lot of time for hiking around with a compass in the back woods. Or maybe open a bookshop by the sea, with the writers tucked away upstairs in garret rooms overlooking the surf. Again: Tea, biscuits, quiet, thoughts, maybe a puppy and obviously cats.

But “independent business owner” didn’t seem like a thing I knew how to tackle at the age of seventeen, or twenty one, or twenty five … which is how I ended up back in grad school and, eventually, doing work I do actually look forward to doing most days, with colleagues I’m proud of, and responsibilities that I actually do believe matter in the world.

So I’m not restless in a #hatemylife sort of way. I’m more like … so what’s next, life? What am I tackling between now and, oh, let’s say when 40 rolls around. Like, where do I want to be when my kick-ass middle age is beginning?

Some preliminary thoughts.

  • Tattoos! I want more of them. I’m planning a sleeve, something to link together my marriage tattoo with my mourning tattoo, and a piece that can grow over the next seven years, incorporating elements as it’s inked yet remaining fundamentally unified. Happily I know just the man for the job!
  • Writing. More time for smut. I’ve been writing smut since I was six, which (let’s be frank) was pretty much before I had any skills whatsoever in the smut department — I distinctly remember my vision of romantic intimacy involving a lot of firm hugging (partly correct) in a magical cloudy-foggy sort of space (entirely incorrect). But lately I haven’t had the energy or focus for it so much, which makes me sad. So I’d like to make the sad go away by re-prioritizing in the smut creation department. It might be nice to try publication of original smut before the decade’s out — but fanfic also works just fine thank you very much.
  • Reading. I want to remember how to do that when I’m not reviewing things. Reading’s slowly been becoming one of those things that clogs up the “to do” list. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing booknotes and reviewing in various mediums. But sometimes a girl just needs to read a book privately, you know? Without sharing her thoughts with the world. At least, that seems like a mighty fine idea to me. So I’ll probably be doing more of that.
  • Nesting. Before this most recent move, I didn’t think it mattered to me so much whether we rented or owned our own home. I was wrong. I love our new place, I really do, and I’m looking forward to living here and not moving for years to come. But I’ve also realized with renewed clarity every time friends of our purchase a home that a sense of place is important to me, and that both of us are homebodies. We need a space that works with and for us, that embraces us, that can be tailored to our lives in ways that a rented apartment cannot. We both grew up in homes our parents made their own. By the time I’m forty, I’d like to be doing the same.
  • Doing shit with my hands and feet. I’m an idea and word person. I spend my life working with the ephemera of interpersonal relationships and communication, the structure of words on a page (or a screen). I miss the kinetic part of life that as a kid mostly comes with the territory — and I’m thinking about how to get it back. Like more biking and hiking. And remembering how to sew. Maybe taking a carpentry class. I’m never gonna be that dyke that fixes cars for a living, but I’d like to get out of my head with my thinky thoughts and translate them into material projects more often than I do now.
  • England. We should go there. Hanna’s never been. I want to go back. I say we have seven years to make it happen.

So there we are. It’s late, and I should get this up and get to bed. I’m gonna be keeping y’all updated on this #forwardintentions thing as we, well, intend forward and see what the daylight brings.