I used to live in Harlem. In a Striver’s Row brownstone, on the Westside near 138th and 139th street in Manhattan. That house had three levels, five bedrooms, and three bathrooms. We preserved the architectural integrity of the house; the hardwood floors are original and the crown molding looks the same way as it did in 1900.
Now, my partner used to work for the United Nations as a French/English interpreter. He now works with French speaking countries outside of France; mostly Haiti and the African nation of Togo. I am a writer who makes a living by writing what she wants. Our children are well-behaved (because we won’t have it any other way) and intellectually curious. They aspire to be the brother/sister version of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams.
We made memories in this brownstone that has the kind of decor that one would imagine if Kanye West and Martha Stewart were our creative directors. Our children were delivered by a midwife in our bedroom. We had Sunday bbqs in our backyard (backyards are a common feature in this community). My husband and I had folks over for impromptu house parties. The kind of party where everyone gets drunk and on the next day at the block homeowner’s meeting we pretend the party never happened.
Truth. None of the above mentioned details bear any resemblance to my life in any way. I am single, childless, a Southerner, and way too poor to afford a brownstone or any real estate in New York City. And I am not really into snow and cold weather.
I understand it is an oddly specific dream. And maybe extremely aspirational. Or borderline ridiculous. However, I believe a dream that is a general one is worthless. Your dreams and hopes are some of the few things in life that are purely self-autonomous.
Dreams should be detailed because if you have the opportunity to live your dream, you will know exactly what to do when the opportunity is presented to you. You will be able to avoid all of the guess work of trying to figure out how to make the dream significant to you.
Many people dream to be rich. But being rich without a precise plan can be a dangerous thing. Although you might be caught up in the temporary euphoric rapture of being able to have anything you want, at some point the novelty of being wealthy will go away.
And now your find yourself on a journey to find some meaningfulness. It is likely that you will spend a lot of money on people and things that will mean a lot less to you a few years down the road. In the end, you will likely have less money, less friends, and forced to live with the spiritual void of not experiencing a truly self fulfilling existence.
Given the rising costs of brownstones these days, my dream is a cost-prohibitive one. However, I am going to keep holding on to this dream. Because if God wants to bless me with my brownstone dream, I am going to make sure that I optimize that dream. This way, God will want to keep blessing me because I will make sure his blessings do not go to waste.