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With a birthday rolling around in the next couple of months, I will officially be on the cusp of turning 30. I find this means I'm reflecting a lot - on what I've done in my life so far, the events and people who have helped shape me, and what the older people around me were doing when they are 30, or close enough... my Mum had a 10 year old (my sister) and was about to have her second child in her 30's, had completely renovated a church into a home, traveled the world, and was renovating a second home (back in the day when renovate meant turn something into nothing, not hanging a new light shade and wallpapering a feature wall...). My sister had a couple of kids under her wing at 30, and had worked and studied in other states. I suppose 30 was once considered mid-life whereas now its quite acceptable to only begin to "settle down" at 30. It makes me wonder what 30 will mean when that birthday arrives for my (potential) grandkids.
At this point in time, however, I feel life seems to get pretty serious at this age. Thinking about my friends and similar aged acquaintances, most of us have full time jobs (that we don't love), mortgages, partners and even husbands and wives. I have friends with fresh babies, friends planning babies, friends struggling to make babies... building homes, renovating homes, getting a dog... reality has crept up on our 20-something partying selves, waved a magic wand over our lives and turned everything into a big, mechanical process of being frank, realistic, balancing the bank account and talking about interest rates.
I don't mind this so much - after all, it's not like anyone's been forced into a mortgage or having lawn to care for, it's all choices made based on goals and aspirations, and most of these people have managed to squeeze in the odd passion and hobby to keep things upbeat and interesting along the way.
The thing I feel, however, is that this serious life seems to slowly rob everyone of their ability to dream. I'm not talking about the stuff of sleep ins, I'm talking about the sparkly eyed person making large hand movements when talking about how they would love to live in a tree house one day. Or the quick rambling words of inspiration about wanting to travel the world. What's happened to the fun discussion of where would we go if humans could fly? It's as if we're all too scared to talk about our dreams, or crazy ideas, for fear that maybe we'll be thought a failure if we don't build the outdoor kitchen/hot tub/ swimming pool combo we created in our minds last week. Or maybe the real (boring) stuff is taking so much of our time we just don't have the brain space to create and dwell on the idea in the first place?
I'm a huge believer that life isn't for just plodding through the every day, being part of the tide that flows to and from work day in day out to pay the bills and put food on the table and not worry about the finer details. It's the finer details that make it all worth it. It's the joy in the small, the wonder in the crazy ideas, the time when you can dream and create and make crazy hand movements when describing your perfect herb garden, or holiday, or adventure, or superpower.
When was the last time you dreamed big? Where you weren't afraid to think about things you can't afford, or don't have time to do (or so you think) or haven't learnt the skills for yet? I believe that this is the stuff that stretches our mind, keeps things ticking over, inspires us. The car that ends up in production may only be an echo of the amazing concept the designer initially created, but just think about the fountain of inspiration and passion that fueled the designer in the first place. That stuff is gold, it's a happy little creature on our shoulders that goes unheard for a lot of people.
Sometimes I forget to dream. I think it's not worth the while, and too sad to think about the stuff I might not see, might not get to do, can't afford... but would love to. But it's not the getting that's important. It's keeping our hearts and minds alive with fun ideas that's important. So today I'm reminding myself that it's okay, and pretty cool, to dream :)