I was in Dubray Bookshop in Galway for World Book Day (Days, thanks to the wonderful Mary Esther Judy who every year hosts a stream of authors and pupils throughout the week). As in most audiences, there were some budding writers interested in the wonky career path (medic, geologist, radio journalist) that led me into children’s writing. That got us thinking about dreams. Not the sleeping kind, where your sister’s goldfish eats your teacher then plays a flute that has hair like Donald Trump, but the ‘what I want to do when I grow up’ kind. When I asked what dreams people had, it was fantastic to see nearly every hand go up. There were actors, scientists, computer programmers, footballers (though strangely enough no aspiring taoiseachs).
Most children I talk to have great big, strapping, noisy, well-fed dreams. Some may be blocked by obstacles like sickness, family difficulties or poverty etc., but it seems to me that humans are born to dream.
So why do many adults seem to have forgotten or given up on their dreams? I know some who are working towards them, and a few who are living them, but somewhere between 12 and 40, many dream muscles seem to waste away. Maybe it’s disappointment, maybe distraction – whatever the reason, childhood dreams so often get lost in ‘daily life’, whatever that is.
What if our dreams were part of daily life? From big ones to small, there must be some way of taking a step towards them. If it’s climbing Everest, why not start with Little Sugarloaf? If it’s owning a cottage in Spain, why not make paella for dinner?
I dreamed of being a cowboy when I was seven. The sex change (cowgirl just didn’t cut it) and dogie herding aren’t going to happen, but I’m off to buy a hat.
‘Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.’ Henry David Thoreau
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. The Bible, Jeremiah 29 v 11