‘Those Were the Days (My Friend)’ is ringing in my ears, a Mary Hopkins hit in 1968. Mary Hopkins’ record was a free gift on the front of Woman’s Weekly or some such magazine, in the early eighties. I used to lie and listen to it over and over in my grandparents’ lounge on our Saturday afternoon visits.
It’s not a happy song, it’s written from the perspective of a lonely lady looking back at the dreams she used to have, feeling foolish that they are still in her heart. It makes me cry, whether for her loss or mine (my grandparents died soon after) I’m not sure, perhaps both.
Thinking you need to give up on foolish dreams is among the saddest of things I hear. Your dreams are far from foolish; they are how you create the life you want to live.
As I think back to those early years when my grandparents were alive, so many of my own dreams were born based on the inspiration I found in their company. The old musical movies from the fifties and sixties that I watched on those Saturday afternoons, were the source of my delight in glamour.
Based on the casual ‘mum’ look I adopt most days you might not quite appreciate this part of my nature. However, the first time I attended a gala event for a work’s award ceremony I was so thrilled to wear a full length gown. I think it is a big part of the reason I kept participating in the years after, I have a wardrobe full of beautiful gowns now.
It’s also undoubtedly the reason for the homely feeling I experienced when I first visited Waikiki Beach, it all felt so familiar after Elvis’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ movie. Trite examples maybe, but ball gowns and trips to the distant shores of Hawaii were not the stuff of my upbringing; they were the stuff of my dreams.
If I had let ‘reality’ dictate what was possible, I’d be feeling frustrated, angry, depressed, some shade of grey. That is your cue that whatever you are telling yourself in your head about what is possible and what is not, is a crock.
My thirst for travel, and to emigrate, was likely kindled by my grandparents’ annual holidays. While we holidayed on home shores, they took trips abroad. I remember gran bringing me back a doll from Denmark, I caught a vision for collecting dolls from all over the world. Dreams change, I didn’t follow that one up, but it got me dreaming of far flung places.
They visited relatives in Canada; many of their brothers and sisters had immigrated there in the era after the Second World War. Gran herself was born in Davenport, Iowa, so to me the whole North American continent seemed magnetizing.
When I first stepped foot on the streets of Chicago to visit a friend in 1993, I remember emerging from the Loop and just being in awe at the size of the cars and the buildings. Consumerism hadn’t quite hit the UK in such a big way at the time, so the size, choice and availability of everything were truly amazing to me. And so my dreams grew bigger.
While I still love a bit of glamour now and then, I drank aplenty from the well of consumerism and those dreams have run fairly dry. I even have my much desired and researched diamond ring for sale, my dreams now are of a simpler life.
I did immigrate (to New Zealand) and I do still hanker to travel more as our girls’ grow. But other dreams, invoked from that time, are the ones I now answer the call of.
A little fridge magnet that said “Don’t judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes” sat upon gran’s fridge. When she died, mum gave it to me, knowing I had liked it. I love proverbs and sayings with wisdom like that; they resonate and create questions in my mind that I now like to explore through my writing.
Often my 3-year-old will say “is it tomorrow now mum?” meaning “is today the tomorrow we were talking about yesterday?” Yes! Today’s life is the result of yesterday’s dreams. If your life today isn’t where you want it to be hurrah, celebrate, welcome to life! You came here to create, you don’t ever stop dreaming.
Here’s the thing though, dreams, nightmares, they are made of the same stuff: your thoughts and the emotions tied to those thoughts. If you aren’t getting what you want in life, start to become more aware of what you are feeling a lot of the time. Work hard to feel as good as you can about yourself and your life as it is today, be thankful for the shades of grey on the emotional scale that are screaming “wrong way”.
When you feel good, you are more open to the small serendipities and coincidences that you must follow like a treasure hunt. Dreams have a way of unfolding that is, in the main, rather unspectacular. It’s a phrase you read on a fridge magnet, or something you see in a movie, or a gift that you are given; it is one dot connecting to another dot and, before you know it, you look back at all the dreams that have come true.
Your dreams aren’t silly, they aren’t frivolous, they aren’t unattainable, no matter how young or old, no matter how wealthy or poor. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, you are worthy and your dreams are your vision of your future… should you choose to go and live them.
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