“I’ve had this dream for so many years,” my mum was saying to me in anguish, “and now at 72 I’ve lost it. And it’s too late. It’s gone. It’s dead. I know it’s not a death, but it’s the death of a dream.”
I had been listening to her and offering different ways of looking at the situation, and different ways of self talk that could help her intense and utter remorse. But for some reason when she mentioned her age in relation to the dream I felt my chest tighten and that uncontrollable sob fill my upper body.
“It doesn’t matter at what age you lose a dream,” I sobbed. “I’m only 32 and I lost my dream 3 years ago. The dream to be young and carefree and beautiful in this world while you still can. Adventuring and spontaneity.”
Then I realised what I was saying. “I know it’s buying into society’s ideas that youth and beauty is fleeting, and to make the most of it, so I know I need to work on all that, but still I lost that dream.”
I stopped and thought about that for a while. “But my point is, it doesn’t matter at what age you lose a dream. A dream is a dream.”
I have worked a lot on remorse around the changes in health that happened in September 2012, so it was interesting to see there was still sadness there. Not surprising really. I very quickly went into observer mode which for me was nice, I didn’t feel like the wallowy tears and sadness around the situation. Especially considering we were talking about my mum.
Before I left I went into my old room and took out my photo albums from the top cupboard to bring home. I flicked through a few briefly, the ones from high school, noticing what I looked like, yet how I believed I looked back then.
The interesting thing is, as I started my drive home I felt a little sensitive. I could feel a slight rawness, yet openness of tears not too far away in my throat. Something had changed. I realised, while looking at the evening light playing with the fresh, vibrant green leaves of spring, and thinking of how lovely I looked as a teenager, that maybe through this health journey I had found a dream I didn’t know I could find.
How long would it have taken me to love myself the way I do now if I hadn’t ‘lost’ the dream of health and youthfulness 3 years ago? This ‘loss’ catapulted me into a place where I worked hard, especially on maintaining sanity. Hours a day of training for something I didn’t know. Every day working my way a little closer to a place within myself where I felt more comfortable…in my own skin…with who I was as a person…with my way in the world. More comfortable with the difference between my journey and my place in other people’s journeys.
And as this realisation gently landed on me on the drive home I felt a wave of intense gripping fizz in my chest, of gratitude. A deep gratitude that makes you breathe deeply and just stop with all the thoughts, just for a moment and realise where you are in this world. Yes I have a sore bum, and yes it does still restrict certain things, and clearly there are still a few tears around that ‘lost’ dream. But oh my, I see myself and the world around me in such a different light now. I can actually feel love for myself and I can see my beauty. Not in a conceited way. In an overflowing loving way that you feel for those close to you.
So yes, a dream was lost, but another one was found that I didn’t even know I was looking for and I can never compare what things may have been like if I hadn’t ‘lost’ that dream.