I don't remember wanting to be a princess when I was small. I'm sure I did: it was the 80s and people weren't so concerned with gender-free parenting, so there must have been at least some pink frills.
The dreams I do clearly remember from when I was a child were being a vet (eschewed pretty soon after I realised there would be quite a lot of blood involved) and being a champion show jumper (that one got nixed when I finally realised that I wasn't particularly keen on enormous fences, which would have been problematic. My dislike was borne out recently hunting when I was one of only two members of the field to - much to Delila's fury - decline the opportunity to jump a five bar gate in favour of a rather less airborne canter the long way around the woods). Others I'm almost certainly sure involved having a pony, being a writer, and getting to eat alphabet potato letters for supper on a semi-regular basis.
Recently I saw someone on Twitter remark that she had had a discussion with a friend about whether it's ok to give up on your childhood dreams.
Initially there's something sad about the thought that someone has given up on their childhood dreams - that they've been quashed and moulded by the shackles of reality into losing the freedom of their imagination and their whimsy.
But thinking about it, I'm not sure that it's the specificity of childhood bit of that sentence that's actually the important bit.
Because I don't see it like that.
Yes, I might have given up on childhood dreams of eating potato based snacks for every meal - but that's because I like having a working digestive system.
All that's happened is that my dreams have evolved as I've grown up. Now and instead, they involve horseback safaris in Botswana; sustaining a happy marriage as long as that of my grandparents'; and having a job that's a close approximation of CJ Cregg's (the first two aren't too close to happening, but I'm working on the third).
Hold on to the freedom inherent in your imagination, absolutely. But don't kid yourself that just because you're not now who you wanted to be as a kid, you've somehow failed. You've not: you've just changed. And if there is something that you're still hanging onto from childhood, you're in a better position now than you ever were to make it happen.
Father Christmas might never have managed to get a pony down the chimney when I was small. It doesn't mean I'll never get one onto the livery yard in the future.
In memory of Kauto Star. With love and thanks.
3 hours ago