‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams…’
I was always that girl. That girl you see dancing in photos, swirling on cards and cluttering up your mind as memories from god-knows-where. You know the one I mean; she’s small and delicate and untarnished, with a perfect fringed-bob. She’s determined and unwavering yet allows for a little whimsical smile to play across her silenced lips. Her eyes are unfaltering and filled with admiration and wonder as she pats and smoothes the waterfalls of lace and silk that fall in swathes over her flushed skin. The ivory curves engulf and elate her all at the same time. The satin-bound heels that force her feet to turn inwards and fall forwards offer her nothing but comfort (and room for one more) as she spins and she spins and she spins in circles in front of the dressing table mirror. I was always that girl. That girl in her mother’s wedding dress with dreams of the future far bigger than the oversized shoes she currently stood in. Is it wrong to dream? Is it wrong to set goals and targets for yourself in terms of home-owning, relationships and children? Who is going to be there for that girl when it’s no longer a sparkled wedding dress, but her dreams that have come tumbling down around her?
I guess you can say I wasn’t the kind of daughter my parents expected. My mum was a gymnast and my dad an avid football (and all things sporty) fan. My brother did the right thing; he kicked his way into this world and onto the sports pitch. He wore shorts and t-shirts and grass stains. Cuts and bruises were simply trophies for the hard work and the passion with which he had played. I, on the other hand, demanded and performed my way into the limelight. I had dabbled in gymnastics and ballet but had settled for drama and music and all other means of gaining attention. To cut a long story short and to get right to the point, I had refused to wear trousers. My mum had visions of me as the perfect little tomboy; in dungarees and coloured t-shirts and cute trainers but I was not having any of it. I was a dresses and skirts girl through and through. And with the dresses and skirts came the dressing up; in princess costumes, fairy costumes and my favourite of all, wedding dresses. And with the wedding dresses came the plans, the plans that will now (potentially) become my undoing.
When I was 8, I dreamed of being married by 21. When I was 18, and aged 21 seemed excruciatingly close I decided it was time to move to goalposts, after all, I was young, having extreme amounts of fun, making no waves in terms of saving or even finding a dream career and above all else, single. It was here that I dreamt up ‘Cut Off – Aged 30’ and at aged 21 it still stands. By thirty, I would like to not only have shaped my future, but be living the life that bright-eyed little me always dreamed of. I’d like to have not only decided on my perfect career, but be hanging on its coattails, passionate and driven and endeavouring to reach the top. I would like to live in a beautiful home, not massive, not tiny; moderate and perfectly imperfect. I’d like plates that don’t match and switches that don’t work and uneven wooden floors that creek and groan in the night and candles that flicker and blow in the summer breeze. But more than all of this, I’d like to have not walked or stepped but have tripped and fallen completely in love, and not just with the love of my life, but my best friend. The person who can help me make all of these things come true, but also the person who is enough for if they don’t. I’d like to have had a wedding that I remember not only for the promise of eternal love, but for the love from my friends and family as they watch on. I’d like to be either in the process of, or have started a family, a very little someone whom if I could give even half of the life, the happiness, the support and the love that I’ve had, would be just enough. And all of this before 30? Yikes!
So ‘Cut Off’ for me is in less than 9 years and to be honest, the thought of it terrifies me on a daily basis. Have I made a mistake to have dreamt so ferociously? Maybe the answer is yes, maybe if all of this doesn’t work out, the dream with turn bitter and will become something I regret. Maybe the dream will prevent and deter any future love, deter a man with a fear of commitment and worse still fear a crazed woman with her whole life planned out. But at the same time, do I really want to be with some who doesn’t share my passion for the future? Someone who doesn’t share my hopes and dreams for life and love and family? And what happens to the people who don’t dream at all? Do they settle for second or third or fourth best? Do they find themselves in a dead end job, in a loveless marriage, dreaming of what could have been? If those are my only options, I know what I would rather do. Dream big. Dream in big and bold and outrageous colours. Dream of what will be so that when you pass 30, 40, 50 (because age doesn’t matter really) you don’t find yourself dreaming of a life you never even have the potential of knowing.