I read about these people, who are 80 years old and are taking their GCSE’s and I smile. Those people, who at the age of 65 decide to take their driving test. At the age of 75, decide to get married. And I know – it’s never too late. The only time anything is too late – is when you’re dead.
I remember when I was a teenager, my Grandad was making me do homework of some sort – and I didn’t want to do it. I had been at school all day, I was tired, I just wanted to relax and unwind – but he wasn’t having any of it! You’ll sleep when you’re dead. That was his motto. He wasn’t being cruel, or unkind – he was annoyed – with a young person wasting valuable time, wasting potential. You’ll sleep when you’re dead. It stayed with me.
That motto of his keeps popping back into my head every so often…when I was a teenager, I didn’t realise what ‘being tired’ was. I know that now. He knew that then. They say that youth is wasted on the young – and perhaps it’s true. You have all this energy, so much time, few responsibilities – and you waste it. Waste it on angst. Waste time being self conscious. Waste time caring what other people think. Waste time worrying.
‘You’ll sleep when you’re dead’ – my Grandad wasn’t telling me to go out and live my life, see the world, have amazing experiences – which is what I would want for my future generations…he was from the generation of people that wanted me to work hard. Work hard and make a successful life for yourself. Work hard now – whilst you are young. Don’t waste time while you are young. Just work.
So, it’s no secret – I did. I worked hard. Perhaps not as hard as I should have – but I worked hard. It was the right thing to do. When you’re poor and have no choices, education is the only thing that will open doors for you and allow you progress, I knew that then, and I still firmly believe that now.
But what about your other dreams?
Here’s one thing that not many people know – when I was younger, I wanted to act. I loved drama, and longed to be on the stage, longed to play parts of different people, longed to tell stories…but I just couldn’t. There was no scope for drama at my secondary school, in University I wasn’t brave enough to look into it, and then I started working – and that took over.
Whilst I was working in London though, a deputy head that I worked with encouraged me to find things to do apart from school work. She gave me a magazine, told me to find a course that I was interested in, and enrol. So I did. I found an acting course, for beginners, that was at a college, a reasonable distance away from where I lived…and the course changed my life forever.
Now I know that sounds like an exaggeration – but it actually did. It allowed me to open up, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, made me so much more confident and it allowed me to fulfil a dream that I had always had…
I often think back to myself – if I had wanted to pursue that further – I could have. For some reason, I didn’t – but the fact that I had made that dream come true, will always stay with me – as I have no regrets.
I’d always wanted to visit Egypt and Greece. With no planning, and in a completely flukey way, both of those dreams came true. The experience in Egypt was actually quite unpleasant – although the history of Egypt was incredible, the fact that my sister and I, in our early twenties, went alone with no male companions was probably quite unwise..but do I regret it? Not a chance!
I have a few more dreams. Personal dreams. Not ones about my children, or members of my family. Just some selfish dreams that haven’t transpired yet but I’m hoping that one day they will.
I want to travel around Italy. I long to see the architecture first hand. I want to see the beautiful countryside and lakes firsthand.
I want to buy a beautiful apartment right by the sea, where the living room has a glass window from the ceiling to the floor, directly over looking the sea. Where I can sit on the floor every night, and watch the sun sink into the sea.
I want to write. Everyone is a writer. There are a thousand million writers out there, I know that, I’m not foolish, but this is my dream and I can dream about whatever I want! I want to write, I want to inspire, I want to help people, I want to tell stories, I want to give hope to people, I want people to know, no matter what rubbish is happening – everything will be alright….And it won’t matter to me when all of this happens. I hope that it happens.
I was talking to someone at work who inspired me today – she made me realise that we should never stop dreaming, we should hold onto our dreams and set tiny goals to make them happen. I suppose articulating your dreams out loud is the first step to making them come true. I remember saying to my husband over and over again, how much I wanted to write, and perhaps I should set up a blog, thinking that only he would read it – one day he turned to me said – just do it. What’s stopping you? Just do it.
Sometimes I’ve needed a bit of pushing to make things happen for me. I’ve been blessed that I’ve met Earth angels along the way. People who said the right thing at the right time, and awakened something inside me, to help me grow, achieve what I want and made sure the dreams inside me haven’t withered away and died. No regrets.
Life can be hard. The daily grind can be hard. But we were not placed on this Earth to simply exist, reproduce and die. I refuse to accept that.
Dream! Make your dreams come true. Do more than exist. Live.
And as my dear Grandfather said…and he isn’t with us any longer – but he was right….You’ll sleep when you’re dead.
And I’ll add my words….Meanwhile – chase your dreams – and LIVE!