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Thursday, 17 May 2012

Living the dream


So. I thought things were going pretty well, till I went into the Barnados shop and came out with three self-help books. I never buy self-help books. But I waltzed straight past the racks of clothes and found myself overcome with a previously buried urge to lose weight, become happier, and Close the Gap between myself and my Ideal Life.

One of the self-help books I didn't buy had huge spaces in which you could fill in answers. As I browsed, I realised I didn't actually have any answers to fill in. What was holding me back? How could I achieve my dreams? Difficult nuts to crack, especially if by 'my dreams' you mean 'finish painting the back wall' and 'mow the lawn'.

There have been some changes here: some unavoidable, some to be welcomed. Less paid work for me; extra help from a lovely lady who comes to spend time with Eldest. The house has started to look like a home rather than a place where we throw things dejectedly on the floor before sitting down with our heads in our hands.

But all this released pressure and contentment and extra time has left me rudderless. The advantage of being a headless chicken is not having anything to ponder with - no head to wonder where you are going. The other day I heard Tim Minchin on Desert Island Discs talking about how ridiculous the idea of eternal paradise after death seemed when people already couldn't work out what to do with their Saturday afternoons.  And though I don't wish to deny anyone their dreams of paradise, I'm having much the same problem with my Thursday mornings.

(Tiredness doesn't help. In addition to our regular middle-of-the-night appointments with Eldest's orthotic legwear, Littlest has decided that now is the time to start waking up a full hour-and-a-half early, and shouting the house down with demands for toast. Yesterday at 8am, for want of anything better to do, the two of us were fully dressed and breakfasted and doing Zumba. Combined with going back to my Ashtanga yoga DVD the other night, today I find myself having difficulty moving my arms.)

So. Today I am baking a birthday cake, reading my self-help books and - by the looks of the rain outside the window - definitely not mowing a lawn. And I'm wondering, how do you even come up with the dreams you're supposed to be dreaming?



23 comments:

  1. beautifully written. maybe writing can be part of your dream. you are already doing it.

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    1. Oh, you are kind. You can definitely come back.

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    1. She does, doesn't she? She's probably very much like my mother.

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  3. I think *you're* dreamy. Zumba, cake, reading, and rain sounds like a decent paradise to me.

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  4. When you figure that out please let me know.

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  5. I wish I knew what to do with all of my days. I hope you'll let us know when you have an epiphany?

    I must say that I agree with Julie and Sue.

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  6. I know I am in trouble when I even find myself making excuses not to go to yoga. Glad you've got someone coming in to help though.

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  7. To come up with the drreams I think you need to go back to throwing things on the floor (preferably the self-help books) and sit on the sofa with your head in your hands. I might do a bit of that when I get home from work tonight!!

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  8. The problem with dreams is they come with the connotations of Big Bold Things to Achieve in Life. And maybe, more sleep is a big enough dream for the mo.

    Or something. Don't listen to me. I have can have twenty different dreams an afternoon, and change them all by morning.

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  9. I'll second the dream of having more sleep. (She said, typing away at bedtime …)

    But whatever your dreams, please don't stop the writing. You just make me laugh. Laughing is not something I do as often as I should and so you are helping me fulfil my dreams.

    Sorry, perhaps that doesn't help you?!

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    1. It helps a lot for people to be so nice.

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  10. I just read this in an article about finding life's Plan B: Transitions, by their very nature, generally involve a temporary loss of clear inner direction.

    Which is maybe also not helpful, though it did make me feel a little better. I like the use of the word temporary. I'm crossing fingers the author knows what she is talking about.

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  11. I was just about to make a profound response when the computer ran out of juice. It saved you from sanctimonious drivel so be grateful. Whatever you want me to say to support you consider it said.

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  12. I adore this. The lesser known yet equally important, "I *don't* have a dream" speech.

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  13. I don't think you are alone in feeling that way. I think it must be wonderful to actually know what one wants from life.

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  14. I have recently admitted to myself that I am not in the least bit ambitious. all dreaming is on a day to day basis. today my dreams of a good day consist of not shouting at the children too much before school (wet Friday when both children have games.....), managing to drink a cup of tea whilst it is still hot, and finding a sock without a hole in it that matches another sock without a hole in it.
    as for your Thursday mornings, build yourself a teleporter and come and drink coffee in Barter Books. x

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  15. I love a self help book, I confess. The problem is that in general they don't. Help, that is. I already know what my dream is but I have this lazy arse I keep sitting on instead.

    I bet if there was a self help app it would sell like hotcakes.

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    1. But would it do any good? You should design it.

      I would be the world's least motivated life coach. I could do very well at sitting here, drinking wine and eating cake and telling other people what to do.

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  16. I read your post, then went away to ponder on an appropriate response. Got distracted (probably by some foreign object abandoned on my carpet) and never concluded my thoughts. If I ever got round to formulating a master plan, I would probably lose the bit of paper I wrote it down on.

    This is why I will never be a universal force to be reckoned with.

    How do you manage, in this blogging universe of a zillion words and pictures flying by only to be instantly consumed and forgotten, manage to say things that lodge under my skin and force me to think?

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  17. What everybody else said. Plus I have a whole house full of self-help books that looked really appealing at the time, then I never bothered to read them. What's up with that? Also, Little Lad is currently waking at obscenely early hours, which is twisted because school is OVER for the year, for pete's sake. Maybe we can get them an apartment together and they can just holler at each other about toast every morning.

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  18. Brilliant post - sadly I think you need space (mental and emotional) to work out what your dreams are and the daily grind is not conducive to finding that space

    Hoping that you find time to dream the dreams and then to go and grab them with both hands

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  19. Yeah, this is a great post. And when life is crazy our dreams have to adjust! You have your first child and suddenly realise you fantasise constantly about more sleep, instead of proper worthy ideals. I'm glad you are getting some help and having a Thursday morning to while away as you choose though. Or choose not to choose. Or can't quite make up your mind about. A bit of you-time is a precious thing, however you spend it. (I quite often take super long showers to get mine, bad for the water bill, good for my brain!)

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