Inspired by a tweet from TIME magazine writer Megan Gibson, I pondered what my younger self would make of my current, (supposedly) adult existence...
The dream: Eating ice cream whenever I want to, including for breakfast.
The reality: Barely eating ice cream at all. I’m just not fussed by it. Unless it comes with Monster Cracking. Then I’m all over it.
The dream: Growing up to be a champion showjumper, a la John Whitaker (and someone else on whom I had a huge crush, whose name I have now shockingly forgotten. I remember seeing him at Olympia in the 90s, and he had curly blond hair. Any suggestions?).
The reality: Doing a job I had no idea existed until I was 18, having not sat on a horse in several years. Le sigh.
The dream: Homework playing absolutely no part in my life whatsoever.
The reality: Getting home and finding that the final check of the BlackBerry has thrown up a client whim that has me finishing my working day on the sofa, some 14 hours after it started.
The dream: Boys being less mystifying.
The reality: Men being more mystifying.
The dream: Getting to wear high heels and make up.
The reality: Getting to wear heels so high I spend most of my life either sitting down or walking veeeeeeery slowly, and lashings of black eyeliner.
The dream: Having sleepovers with friends whenever I like – even on a schoolnight.
The reality: Having a sleepover every night with a particularly special friend (although the midnight feasts are fewer and further between than Small Me would like).
The dream: Having a tiger as a pet like that woman in the black and white newsreel footage without anyone telling me it’s impossible.
The reality: Not having a tiger as a pet like that woman in the black and white newsreel footage, because it’s impossible. Settling for something that resembles a smallish panther instead.
The dream: Getting everything I ask for at Christmas.
The reality: Realising that Father Christmas has less jurisdiction when you’re a grown-up.
The dream: Reading until it’s well past bedtime without having to resort to a torch under the duvet.
The reality: Reading whenever and wherever I damned well like.
The dream: Being allowed to listen to something other than classical music on the radio.
The reality: Swapping Classic FM for Radio 4. Rock ‘n’ roll, little me: rock AND roll.
The dream: Never having to eat Brussels sprouts.
The reality: Never having to eat Brussels sprouts. Amazing.
The dream: Going to bed as late as I liked, whenever I liked.
The reality: Going to bed at a depressingly reasonable, nay early, hour as often as I possibly can. My 8 year-old self wouldn’t be angry – just deeply, deeply disappointed.