dreams / musings. Ella. Mademoiselle Coquine / painting. / travel

I HAD A DREAM…….musings.

One of my favourite  reads is the blog ” tales from the chambre de bonne” and recently  the author, Ella, published this reflection on , giving it all up and making your dream come true, as she did by moving to Paris.

This particular post and the replies, really made me think about my own life and my own dreams.

 When I was young, a nice  house, a satisfying career  faithful husband, two children and enough money to be comfortable, were my aspirations and I achieved these by the time I was 30.   I did not think of these as “dreams” just a direction in which I steered my life, because my value system told me these were the things I should aim for.

 We are all given different values by our parents and culture.  In counselling terms these are know as “introjected values”….the unconscious things we are led to believe are  morally right, will bring us happiness and for which we strive. Thus we may subconsciously  aim to make money , gain power, love, fame, recognition  education, acquire “stuff”, cars, houses, clothes, beauty etc. because this is what we think we are supposed to do.
Like a lot of people, in my thirties, I began to question these values, when they did  not  bring the expected contentment and so my life took a different direction.
To cut a long story short, over the next thirty years I pursued all sorts of dreams and enjoyed the journey.  Some things worked, some things didn’t, but what I didn’t realise was that I had the luxury of time on my side.
 OK we all know we could get knocked down by a bus tomorrow,  but realistically at thirty, forty and even fifty, all things being equal, we have time to plan.
Suddenly I turned 60 and (even more scary!) Michael turned 70….. and all of a sudden it was time to stop dreaming.  Suddenly I  had the massive realisation that THIS IS IT.  This was the rainy day, this was the end of the rainbow, today was the future, this was the wake up call  and suddenly it became less about fulfilling dreams and more about TODAY.  Living each day as if it was my last, because now it could very well be… and Michaels last day became even nearer.  Especially when people you know start dying off.  It was almost as if I was in a queue for death, but I had no idea how many people were in front of me.
Initially, this realisation plunged me into depression and then I started living for the moment.  “Life’s too short,”  became my motto.

But Ella’s post has made me think.  Maybe I can indulge in a dream and work toward it?  because maybe people need to dream.

  What would that dream be?  Do I  really want to move to Paris…. when I think about it, no.  I spent 5 weeks there  a couple of years ago and that taught me that, although I love cities and especially Paris, I don’t want to live in one. ( unless I was a millionaire and could buy a mansion!) Too confined.  I like the space of my home, the view and proximity of the green hills and being able to walk out into my garden.  I like being English,. I like being a visitor, I would not want visiting to be taken over by the routine of life.

I have also learned that the people I love and who love me, are the most important and precious thing in life and when my last day comes it will be the people around me that will matter, not where I am or what I have acquired.

So one of my aims will be to savour and improve those relationships.  In her post Ella said a very powerful thing
 “never underestimate the power of being a good person, it really does go a long way”

So maybe one of my dreams is to try to be a good person, try not to be grumpy, impatient and bad tempered, but most of all try to be kind.

My other dream is to travel.  Having got over my chronic homesickness that prevented me from travelling all my life, I now want to make up for lost time and explore the world.  Other cultures, other countries. even this country, for I have by no means seen it all..  My dream would be to take my wheeled carryon, and travel as far as I can..

Of course I don’t want to leave Michael for too  long and he does not want to come with me. Plus, who knows how long we have left together?.  This unlikely man, who did not fit the picture of my ideal mate, Who cuts my hair and polishes my shoes, does the shopping and generally makes me laugh.  Who for the past twenty odd  years has walked beside me in life.  Patiently seeing me through every phase, whim and obsession, up and down, for better for worse, in sickness and in health.

To my chagrin, I missed him a lot when I was a week in Boston and I know will miss him and the children a lot, when I visit California, for nearly four weeks, next spring.  .So for the moment I have to be content with shorter trips. Some times life is also about compromises to fulfil all your dreams. Sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too!

Last week I got so fed up with the office politics at work that I nearly handed in my notice, but of course, my part time job, supplements my pensions and enables me to travel so maybe this is a compromise I have to live with for my dream.

So maybe for now I will just book a weekend trip to Glasgow, it is somewhere I have never been and enrol in an art class to improve my painting skills!…and really learn French,  just in case!

Love Denise

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10 thoughts on “I HAD A DREAM…….musings.

  1. Oh Denise, where do I begin with this post? First, I lost the last 90 minutes when I linked to Ella's blog and then tried to catch up on her life in Paris for the past 2 years. Second, you are so brave and honest in your blog, you are an inspiration to me. Third, it's nice to know I'm not the only one torturing myself over the choices I've made and the choices I've yet to make. Fourth, the line about being a good person really resonated with me ~ I remember reading something a little while ago that asked what I would want to be remembered as after I died and my answer was that I hope people would think I was kind. That is more important to me than being rich, smart, popular, etc. Finally, like you, my grandsons and my kids are so important in my life, so many choices have been made with them in mind and I ultimately realize that dreams of moving to Paris and not having them in my everyday life are just not compatible. I so want to be happy and content with my life but it really is a constant struggle, isn't it? Thank you for giving me so much to think about on this cold, rainy November Sunday.Jo


  2. Hi Jo….Actually Ellas post really helped me to face a decision, NOT to go to Paris, but that decision had also been made easier by the 5 weeks we spent in Paris and had a taste of what "ordinary day to day " life would be like in the centre of a city and how I would miss my children and grandchildren.If I won the lottery I could buy a huge mansion there and they could all come with me and visit often, but of course that is a fantasy…….so I can still dream!So yes, it does seem a constant struggle to count my blessings but I am going to work on that.Love Denise


  3. Love this post, Denise. I had the same dream/reality check regarding Israel. When I actually lived there I realized that unless I am ok within, my actual physical location was worthless. I am happy now and love wherever I am, whether it be on holiday or in my own back yard. (of course I am happier on holiday!)I am planning a stop in either Glasgow/Edinburgh or Dublin on my way to Paris in April….care to join or meet me? Perhaps I will come to Bolton instead?


  4. Hi Denise! I'm so honored that my post triggered you to muse on your own adventures, dreams, and experiences!I say we're never too old to dream (what do I know? I'm all of 31 years old!), no matter what it is. I'm sure that as I get older, my dreams will get smaller, working with things that I already have, but at least some form of a dream will be there!I like what you said about "introjected values" and what we believe is the correct way to conduct your life isn't necessary right or wrong. These values are only based on our parent's beliefs and what we've been spoon fed. Given the current climate between my family and I, I have no freaking idea what they wanted me to do in this life! Not move to Paris? Well we all knew that wasn't going to happen…Thank you for the link up, and again, I'm glad that my post served as somewhat of an inspiration to you.


  5. I'm still catching up on my blog reading after being gone and haven't read Ella's post yet, but I'm sure that it's a thought provoking one. She's an extremely talented writer.Dreams? My dream would be for Stephane and me to live in close proximity to our children – the closer the better! I hope that it will happen one day but it may not because both of them like to travel.Let us know what you decide regarding Glasgow, the art class and French lessons! They all sound like good options. You're right that it's important to keep dreaming and doing! And, of course, you could also take an art class in Paris. That would kill two or three birds with one stone.


  6. Nancy…I am so glad you tried your dream and had the courage to admit it when it didn't work out. It seems we are destined to be in the opposite parts of the world, I am going to California in April/ May next year for a month, to visit my brother, but let me know your dates and maybe we can sort something out.Ella, glad you saw this and thank you again for your blogpost. I realise you may not know this but since I read it and the replies and wrote this post, It has helped me to organise and come to terms with some thoughts and decisions that had been going round in my head for a while. God luck in your life, I hope all your dreams come true.Mary Kay, I hope you get to be near your children. My son only lives in Birmingham and I know only too well how I miss him, his wife and the grandchildren, but children have to do what they have to do and to move away is perfectly natural,. To you all, thanks for your comments. I have booked a trip to Glasgow in a couple of weeks and the local university is advertising classes for January.Watch this space.Love Denise


  7. I hope you like Glasgow Denise, it's a very interesting city. If you've not been before the Peoples Palace social history museum on Glasgow Green is really interesting. I loved the Charles Rennie MacIntosh House and the Lighthouse building in the city centre, there are some beautiful churches too. I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself.


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