Over Easter we visited friends in Cornwall who have recently realised their dream of moving to the beach after years of commuting into London and working two jobs each. We had a wonderful long weekend of food, laughing, drinks in the pub and long walks on the beach with all our dogs. When husband and I returned home I felt restless for weeks afterwards and couldn’t pinpoint why. We don’t hanker after living by the coast and, gorgeous as their beachside bungalow is, we love our house and are happy in our town. Then it dawned on me suddenly: I have lost sight of my dreams, allowing myself to get so bogged down in the daily quagmire of work, health issues, never-ending house renovations and the minutiae of life that I have forgotten what I dreamed of.
Some dreams are huge. My great-grandmother dreamed of visiting Paris, quite an ambition for a working class woman in the mid-20th century. She never went but always clung to that hope. And big dreams can come true. In January 2009 a friend of mine brought her ten year old daughter to a lunch to celebrate my engagement. The little girl told us that when she grew up she wanted to be a famous YouTube star. We all smiled indulgently but now in 2017 she is indeed that social media star with millions of followers and an agent in LA. She had that flame of ambition burning inside of her and just wouldn’t give up on her dreams. Another good friend has a son who always wanted to be a top music producer. Now I hear his music everywhere, all the time; you will definitely have heard it too. Again, he stuck with his dreams and dared to make them a reality. And my friends in Cornwall too dreamed of a house by the sea with their dogs and worked and worked towards it – and now they have their wonderful life – and we have a fantastic holiday home!
What were my dreams? Sometimes I struggle to recall them. Well, like most people I want the basics of good health for myself and my loved ones, a roof over my head and a life free of financial worries where I can easily pay the bills. But assuming those first world essentials are satisfied, what then? Not a huge lottery win as I have seen at work what billions can do to a person: they end up in court suing each other. But enough money to not have to constantly fret (oh, and to turn left on entering a plane too!) My 45 years have taught me that material things do not ultimately bring happiness. (Although my Tiffany sunglasses are the exception) I never had the popular dreams of marriage and children or a particular career or owning my own house but I had dreams of travel and adventure and becoming a bestselling author.
Dreams change with time to become a moving target. Right the way through university I wanted to join the Army Intelligence Corps until I failed my interview and, once again, I had to reassess what I wanted. Deflated, I never really had any career dreams after that. I achieved a lifelong ambition in 2009 when I finally saw my work in print (and then went on to be published again and again) culminating in the publishing of my ebook in 2011. I then wanted a bestselling novel but now that seems less important and I am not sure I could handle the bad reviews and rejection. Next, I wanted to build a craft emporium and turn my passion into a career but realised that in doing that, all the fun and joy of creating would be sucked from it. I need to find new dreams because what is life without dreams? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: my husband pictured having a relaxing bath in a lovely new bathroom in our house, a dream that got him through weeks of noise, dust and disruption while it was being created. I always wanted to have a dog and now I am a dog owner of a lovely whippety mash-up rescue. I have a vague idea that I would like our house to be featured in an interiors magazine once it is finished and husband mentioned he wanted to go to the Isle of Man TT, so new dreams are forming but I need newer and bigger dreams too.
So dare to dream, let your dreams scare you and, as the song goes: hold on tight to your dreams.