About two years ago my husband asked me this question: If you were to wake up one morning and find that overnight a miracle had taken place and you were now living your dream, or perfect, life what would it look like? Since then my answer has changed and developed but certain aspects of it have remained the same. For ages I struggled to get over the whole waking-up thing. I could imagine waking up in a sunny, spacious room with the smell of coffee wafting in from the kitchen below. The sound of the sea breaking on the shore... And that was it. If I forced myself I could imagine going down to the kitchen and pouring myself some of that coffee and helping myself to a freshly made croissant from a pile on a board. Maybe going out onto the terrace to sit in the sun... But not much more, it wasn't a life I was imagining but a coffee commercial. And the odd thing is I always have tea in the morning, I find coffee too harsh. In order to develop my answer I had to get over that morning thing, I'm not a morning person and I found the morning bit debilitating. So now I have reworded the question to: A miracle has happened, you now live your perfect life, describe it. So much easier.
Interesting, isn't it, how language leads? How the way a question is formulated can make it unanswerable, or make only certain answers possible, precluding others. Barristers, politicians and other professional exploiters of language know all this, of course, and use it to their advantage. I've heard that polling companies can ask questions in a way that guarantees the answers given for those who employ them. Bastards!
I find myself, more and more, having to mentally re-word questions before I can answer them. I know this drives my husband nuts because I seem to go blank for ages 'it's a simple enough question!' he'll say looking slightly pained. But it's not a simple question, like most it needs to be disentangled. Its assumptions need to be uncovered and examined. Where do you want to go on holiday this year? for example, assumes that I want to go away at all. It also assumes that I am aware of all the options regarding not only destination but financial and time constraints. Not to mention where he would like to go, the sort of accommodation available in various places, if visas need to be procured etc, etc. Going away on holiday, especially with someone else, is a mine-field.
So anyway, back to the Miracle Question and my imaginary perfect life. I'd like to be able to say, hand on heart, that it's the one that I'm leading. And mostly it is. But I can't seem to stop trying to make a few minor alterations, for example I wish the roof didn't leak when it rained. And I would rather like to live by the beach and be a real writer, rather than someone who likes to write and has started a novel but not got round to looking at it for a while. I do think I'm lucky, though, that the things I'd like to change are pretty small. This means I don't really give them much thought unless I'm asked such a question.
But now I am throwing the question out to you: If you found yourself living your perfect life, what if anything would be different?