In a very sweet and funny essay for the New York Times, Mindy Kaling describes her habit of imagining her future family, admitting that she's created several different versions of her potential future family throughout the years.
"The problem with being a writer of romance and romantic situations is that my capacity for creating and believing in fantasy is huge," Kaling writes after describing a dream family that includes an hipster architect husband named Alex, "Nothing can ever be as amazing as Harry & Sally or, in my book, Joe Fox & Kathleen Kelly from the movie You've Got Mail." And while Kaling's process of creating potential families in her mind is a bit goofy, it's also very honest and sweet and something I'm sure many of us have also done over the years.
It's a strange thing to try and visualize your future; as Kaling notes, she already has a family that she's proud to be a part of, as a sister and a daughter, but it's different than having a core unit you've created on your own. "Do I want to be the child in my current family, or the parent/wife/grown-up of some other one?" Kaling asks, "The first seems real and comfortable. The second seemed like a silly bit of mischief, a game of pretend, even though I have a sense it might be just around the corner."
In many ways, visualizing your future spouse or children can serve as a means to prepare for the inevitable separation from your parents and siblings as you grow older and strike out on your own, and while the imaginary families we create in our minds might be slightly ridiculous, they're also a quiet affirmation for those hoping to find a partner or have children that there might just be someone out there waiting and imagining the same silly things. It's also a way to figure out who you are and what you want out of life, and though the pieces may not come together in a way you expected, it's nice to at least have a sense of what those pieces might look like. It's also funny to look back on past visualizations; at 16, I was pretty sure I'd be married to a gothy rock star and living with my kids, Starla and Glynis. At 28, my imagined future doesn't involve children at all, especially ones named after Smashing Pumpkins songs. When I'm 38, I'm sure I'll have another view: the picture, naturally, changes as we change.
So what say you, commenters? Have you ever imagined your future family? Or perhaps a lack thereof? Feel free to share your stories in the comments.