Health & wellbeing

Returning to childhood dreams

11 Jul 2024 | Written by Marina O'Shea

Ahead of the next ‘Writing for wellbeing‘ workshop, The Joy Club member and wonderful host Susanna Lewis invites you to explore your childhood dreams.

As we find ourselves in retirement mode with time to reflect, it is easy to look back at the past and recall the pure, innocent memories of childhood. Even if our childhood was peppered with sad times, such as the early loss of a parent or loved one, we can still uncover memories of an uncluttered and simple life.

Of course, those of us now in the over 50 age category, may find ourselves horrified at the dramatic changes the world has gone through since we were young children. Could we ever have imagined the world as it is today with the advancement of technology and the difficulties that face modern life?

I believe that nostalgia and looking back at the ‘good old days’ helps us mentally process the busyness of today and gives us a comfort zone to fall into when we become overwhelmed by the modern world.

Maybe retirement is that portal into a new world for each of us. A world where we can return to a simpler way of life, uncluttered and free from stress. Stress related illnesses are at an all-time high, and the retired generation are not exempt from this. Now we have more free time away from work commitments, we can try and focus on ways to improve our mental health and reduce our stress levels. I wonder if looking back through nostalgic eyes can help us stand back from today’s busy world, to create a more peaceful and simplistic life?

Did you have dreams as a child? Did you imagine living in a particular place, either real or imaginary? Did you dream of doing crazy activities that your parents frowned upon? Did your teacher stifle your creativity telling you that it wasn’t a ‘proper’ job? I know all of the above applied to my childhood. I wanted to be an astronaut initially, and quite rightly my careers teacher gently explained that my chosen career was never going to happen. I then announced my next job of choice, a writer, only to be told, yet again, that writing was not a ‘proper’ career, unless I was Charlotte Bronte or Charles Dickens. Of course, I never let my dreams go and I am now a published writer. I would certainly like to see my teacher now and proudly hand her a copy of my book. 

So, moving onto retirement, I am now writing prolifically, and I am finally truly happy and contented, living the creative life I believe I was always meant to have. My one regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. However, I am grateful for the chance and good health to steer myself back on the path which takes me to the place I feel most comfortable, living and breathing within my imagination through my words. 

So, how about you? Do you long to retreat from the busy, overwhelming world that stifles us, just as we head into a new period of our life? Do you remember dreams you had as a young child? Did you long to live by the sea, lulled to sleep every night by the hypnotic sound of the waves crashing on the shore? Was your dream to write a science fiction novel telling the tale of mysterious worlds in outer space, but your English teacher crushed your ideas with a few harsh words? Did you enjoy playing a particular sport at school but gave it up when your parents encouraged you to concentrate on academic results instead? 

As I write this, I think of all the lost and broken dreams that so many of us had as children and how that may have affected us growing up. As someone who has experienced this, I know that we can torture ourselves feeling regret for not pursuing what we truly loved. However, not all is lost. There is still time and opportunity to relive and start your dreams once more. 

Why not write down your dreams? Those things in life that still play in your mind, those things you still want to achieve. Maybe you CAN still achieve them. When you have written your list, start to think about how you can work towards these goals and dreams. We might not be the fresh-faced youngster we remember, but we have something more valuable. Wisdom and experience. Two qualities that can help you achieve those goals and dreams that evaded you many years ago. 

Yes, it takes thought and planning, but you still could write that best selling novel, move house and live near the sea, and even return to playing cricket again for your local village team. Age is no barrier to achieving your dreams. Frank McCourt, famous for his memoir ‘Angela’s Ashes’ only began writing in his retirement and published his first book at age 60. Lorna Page, author of ‘A Dangerous Weakness’ published her first book age 93!

So much can be achieved as we move into retirement. You need focus and determination and a mindset that believes ‘you can do it.’ So, retrieve those dreams from your youth and think of ways you can reach what you truly desire, even if just a small part of it. Maybe you will finally write that book, live by the sea or return to involvement in a sport you gave up years ago. Anything is possible with a determined mind.

To explore this topic more why not join me, here at The Joy Club on Monday 15th July at 12.30pm where we will look deeper into achieving those dreams from childhood at my live event Writing for wellbeing.

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