You know how people like to dream of what they'd do if they won Lotto? Travel the world, give heaps of money to their Mum, all that stuff? Well, my dream has never changed. I want my own farm.
When I was 15, my farm was going to be 15,000 acres and all the work would be done on horseback. There would be week-long musters and high-country adventures, the obligatory muscular young men, thousands upon thousands of sheep and cattle, and every day would be sunny. I would be out on the hills with just my horse and my dogs, able to see to the horizon, unbounded. Then I got older.
When I was 25, my farm had shrunk to 3,000-4,000 acres. I did most of the work, horses were for fun and I was in country that grows grass instead of rock and tussock. Suddenly, my vision included a farmhouse with a verandah and a garden, and such practicalities as stockyards, access to town and having to make a living. I was still out with my horse and my dog, but it wasn't the only thing in my dream. Then I got older again.
Now I'm 35. My farm is now 300 acres. I'd like to let 200 acres regenerate into native bush, and farm the rest. There is a small flock of sheep that I've bred specifically for the conditions, there are a few cows, there is a large food garden and an orchard. The farm is self-sufficient and organic. The house is smaller and more homely. There's a rocket launching pad and a gathering place in the bush for the needs of my friends. My horse is there for hooning and the pleasure of drawing and interacting. There are only 2 dogs and they have names and working styles, and I can see them sleeping on the porch as well as running the hills. Income has become unimportant again, because I'm independently wealthy. I spend time away from the farm, pursuing other interests. There are flowers, and the house has a sunny room, just for reading.
So, as I've grown and changed, my dream has become more focused, more detailed, smaller and more achievable. The one thing that hasn't changed through the 20 years I've had this vision, is that I can never see anyone sharing it with me. I'm always on my own.
This bothers me a little. OK, it bothers me a lot. Why? Well. 20 years is a long time to carry a dream and not meet anyone who shares it. And because of the nature of the dream, a person would have to share my dream wholeheartedly - that kind of thing is a huge commitment. I've met plenty of folks who've jokingly said "Just find yourself a wealthy farmer and marry him." And I've laughed and nodded and smiled. But the thing is, see.. that's not what I want. I want to build it myself, not ride on someone else's achievement. And, well, being a farmer's wife is a box I can't even begin to fit, for a million reasons. I've tried, and my soul died a little each day. I need to be an equal partner, and to share the dream, the striving, and the rewards. Or do it alone.
I've made two serious attempts at living my life with a partner. In the first, all the compromise came from me. My sheep farm became a kumara farm, my slow building of the dream became a huge debt to the bank and my hills with dogs and horses became cooking dinner for hungry farm workers. As I said, my soul shrivelled until there was only just enough of me left to make an escape. In the second, I was doing my thing, and my partner came along for the ride. He had no real interest in what I was doing, but watching me shear sheep made him hot. Living my dream and not his, slowly eroded our bond until I had nothing to say that interested him and what he had to say was all negative. We shrank away from each other and he ran off with a homely, plump lady who liked to bake cakes. So much for no compromise. I get that compromise is necessary, but there has to be at least some overlap of vision for the future in order for such a partnership to work. So far, I seem to be the only one envisioning that particular future.
So yeah, when I picture my dream, I'm on my own, even when I'm old. And that pains me.
In the time since my split with my second serious partner, I've avoided entanglements. Failing a second time hurt - a lot. I loved the guy, intensely and deeply, and having something so major and unchangeable tear us apart was really, really hard. It's been a few years now, but still, when I think of that time, I cringe internally as the pain comes flooding back. So yeah, Single Tats R Us. I think, in the last few years, I've only met one guy who I could have got into an involvement with, and by the time I realised what I was thinking, it was too late. I'd been relegated to the wasteland that is Just Friends. Not that there's anything wrong with friends (let's face it, a friend in the hand is worth two exes in the bush), but, well.. you know.
Lately, I've relaxed a little and a small part of my mind has been thinking, "You know, it'd be nice to have someone special." This is quite a big deal. This is Tats, getting over being afraid. Of course, it's never that simple. Anyway, I was talking with a wise friend, and he said, "You put off 'not interested' vibes." I've thought about this. And, being just a little geeky, I did some basic maths. I like most of the people I meet. Maybe out of every 100 people I like, there will be 10 that I'd be interested in pursuing a friendship with. 5 of these, by the odds, will be guys. So I have 5 new guy friends. Out of those 5, maybe one is someone who interests me in a 'more than just friends' kind of way. So, that's one in a hundred new people that I actually am interested in. Then, they have to be interested back. And, to take it back to the beginning, what are the chances of said person having a vision that is close enough to mine so that barriers of difference can be overcome?
The odds are scary. I think I don't like maths.
Anyway, back to the not interested thing. See, using the above paragraph, mostly it would seem, well.. I'm not. Am I too picky? Am I missing something glaring? I know I'm too intrinsically honest to pretend interest where it isn't there, and it would seem I'm too reserved to show interest when it is. This is something I'm working on. I had a little thought experiment with another friend the other day on this subject. We agreed to make some small changes in how we approach people, and see what happens. For him, almost instant results. I don't seem to be doing quite so well. I put this down to not meeting any new people in the last few days.
It's not about finding a boyfriend. It's more about changing the 'not interested' into 'interested and engaged.' Subtle difference, but could change things in such a big way. So anyway, introducing myself to people seems to be where it's at. I'm not very good at it, I tend to assume that if people are interested in knowing me, they will do it. Yes, I see the flaw in this logic and this is the small thing I plan to change. Starting now.
After all, I have several thousand new people to meet. *grin* Any advice on what to say after "Hi, I'm Wendy" would be helpful...
See what sitting in freezing water will do for you? Yeah, I can so hear you all rushing off to try it. Yup. *smile*