My Head Fuzzy With Dreams

“Do you ever wonder where swallows go in the winter? They come to my workshop to fetch the dreams they’ll take with them in the spring.”

When I was 13 I had a part in the school play as the Maker of Dreams. I stood on stage and proclaimed that “I make all the dreams that float about in this musty world.” At 13, my awkward shyness masqued by layer of green sequin and thick makeup, I never knew how close I was to the truth.

When we’re young we spin our hopes into dreams like sugar into candyfloss. Every dawn brings something new to wish for. Our days are spent fantasizing about the people we’ll become and planning for the lives we’ll live. The present is just a series of stepping stone that we flit over, hurtling towards a future that awaits us, resplendent with the rewards we’ve dreamed into being.

When do the unicorns die?

So what happens when tomorrow comes and you’re finally there, in the future you longed for, living those dreams?

What happens is that you look in the mirror one day and you realise that the lines on your chest aren’t imprints from the sheets; they’re wrinkles. They’re the fingerprints of Father Time on your body.

What happens is that you wrestle your clothes on and wonder how you went from pert to plump and why that extra padding isn’t smoothing out those wrinkles.

But more than that, you look around you and you suddenly realise that this is it; this is what you’ve worked a lifetime for. 

It happened to me. Amidst the sound of departing unicorn hooves and the rustling falling of fairy wings I looked at my life and asked the aging, tired looking woman in the mirror: what if this is all there is?

What if this is as good as my life is ever going to get?


Not that I have a bad life! It’s actually pretty much what I dreamed of … more or less. There’s more fat and less fame. More debt and less freedom. More bad 80s hair and less good 80s music.

But then there’s also move love and less longing. More settling and less running. More appreciation for the beauty I possess and less angst over the beauty I don’t.

So it all balances out, more or less. Except when it comes to dreams. Dreaming is something you do less of as you get older. The bustle of work and traffic and kids and homes traps pins you to the present. And there you struggle, trapped like a beautiful butterfly with dusty wings, worrying how you’ll make it through just this next day.

So this year I plan to start dreaming again. Not small dreams that are easy to achieve; giant untamed dreams huge spiralling out like a distant nebula. Dreams that spark and crack like lightning in my brain. Dreams I wake up thinking about at 2 in the morning and then lay awake imagining until sunrise; so sweet I can taste them. 

This year I’ll be seeding clouds with my wishes so that beautiful things will rain down on me and nourish my soul.

Where are my wings?  

This year I’ll be living my life like a Pantomime. Where every frog is really a prince. Where the ending is always happy. And where women never grow old, they just grow sparkly wings and become fairy godmothers.

Because this isn’t as good as it’s going to get. This is just a good beginning. And today and tomorrow and every day I’m going to make candy-floss dreams and keep imagining the kind of woman I’m going to be when I finally grow up some day.

But since I’m older and wiser I’ll do it without worrying about whether my spiral perm will take or if George Michael will ever realise I’m the material girl for him.

“We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams.
World-losers and world-forsakers,
Upon whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers,
Of the world forever, it seems.”      – A. O’Shaughnessy