The Ageing Guide to Continuing Dreaming

Getting older is not the end of the world. Sure, it’s  literally near the end of your life, but it can be amazing. Really.

Cultivate the route to old gitdom with style. You can be legitimately grumpy. You are allowed to think you know everything. You can even pee your pants. Although this is not recommended if you currently have strong bladder control. Just wait, it will possibly happen eventually anyway.

One day you wake up and realise that somehow you got older. This is often called a midlife crisis. Or what is most commonly known as ‘losing your rationale because you think death is looming’. If you don’t fully embrace this stage, the fallout isn’t pretty.

Don’t believe the hype (I am so very old school – geddit?). A midlife crisis can be great. Buy the stuff. Chase the dreams. Because one day you’ll be broke due to crappy pension payouts, living on a tin of supermarket brand baked beans.

Today’s manifesto: I am going to rename ‘growing older and cautiously chasing your dreams’ as ‘styling it out’.

Who dictates that because we are getting older, our capacity to dream must shrink along with our ‘bits and pieces’? Your past dreams do not need to sag, like your boobies (this applies to men and women – some blokes have a better set than I do).

Your aspirations can be given a boost; call it Viagra for the soul. I am not venturing further into the need for a ‘pep up’ in later age. Although sponsorship from Viagra on my blog one day is a stand up, big dream *chortles at how she she gives advice on ageing but will never grow up herself*.

I asked some bored idiots trusted friends on Facebook recently (other sources for a writer’s procrastination are available) to divulge their childhood and current dreams. It was interesting that the majority didn’t share the dreams they have now. Most detailed their childhood dreams.

Kudos to those who made their earlier dreams become reality. But is that where it ends? Is it now game over for dreaming?

I get it. Life gets in the way. Responsibilities seem like barriers. But let me put it to you; do dreams always have to be huge in order to be valid? Do you have to go all out straight away?

Children know how to dream

Start small. It’s the only way to re-learn a skill, because the truth is, many of us are paralysed by the fear of having to re-learn a process we were once rather good at. You were, honestly. I have yet to meet a child who does not have a dream and fully embraces it.

Sure, some of these dreams appear nuts to adults. Although I defy you to tell a child who shares that she wants to be a unicorn, that it’s silly. Why is it silly? Because you are using your older person’s grumpy head.

That kid is ‘styling it out’. They are working on that unicorn gig right now. They made the horn and stuck it on their head. They throw glitter down the toilet because only unicorns crap sparkles.


When that kid grows up, they will hopefully evolve their unicorn dream, such as becoming an obsessive gamer or a vet. Although if after many years of veterinary training, they still aspire to be a unicorn, or want to treat them, therapy may need to be delicately suggested.

I can’t speak for everyone, but if childhood dreams don’t come true, we don’t usually die. Some smart arse will now give me an example of how this has actually happened. Fill your boots; I could do with some more comments…

We may attempt to fulfill our childhood dreams and feel like we have failed because we fully achieved them. This is where ‘styling it out’ comes in. Those who responded to my question about what their dreams were/are now, often detailed where they are now. None of them sounded like resounding failures to me. They just adapted and moved on, or modified their original dream.

Question and Answer

Question: Why can’t we make, adapt and modify dreams now, in our older years?

Answer: Because YOU told yourself you couldn’t.

Some people won’t like that answer. They will state that circumstances, past rejections, obstacles and what others could say, will stand in their way. I know. I say it and think it. I am not judging you.

My dream

Every time I sit down to write I have to calm the voice in my head that tells me at my age (TM), to grasp such a huge dream, is ridiculous. The voice snarls, criticises, and calls me a fool for telling others about my dream.

I talk back to the voice now. Writing can be lonely. Having an inner voice, even if it is a snarky bitch, provides company.

I started this dream small. I was rejected at the age of 11 (See my previous post ‘Crushed by a Cheeseburger‘). I thought I’d left the writing dream there. A few years ago, unbeknownst to me, I started small. I dared to tell trusted people I felt like I had a ‘book in me’. Not literally. That’s just uncomfortable.

When the trusted few didn’t laugh, I left it stewing for a while. Then I read and read and read. I didn’t know it then, but hindsight is a beautiful thing; I was learning. I was reading other writers’ work, assessing, and being inspired.

Then came the Christmas gift from the husband of a fancy schmancy pen and lovely notebook. The next stage up from starting little was in progress. That first scribble on paper made the dream begin. It does not make me a published author.  But I have put the dream into action.

So with every sly whisper in my ear that I’m an idiot for pursuing a dream at my age (TM), I tell it to shut its trap. I am not a motivational guru. I have days when I think that I’m an idiot for trying. Then the husband brings out his pom poms (oi, gutter mind, learn metaphors), throws a Dairy Milk at me and retreats, whilst yelling how proud he is of me.

You are never too old to follow your dreams

The moral of this post is: do what you should be doing. Dream. Dream small. Dream big. Just dream and then pursue it. Style it out and be down with your bad dreaming self. De-clutter all the ‘I can’ts/I shouldn’ts/It will never works’.

blunder2_zps91126770Tell your dreams to trusted others. If they laugh at you, assess if they really need to be in your life, or you need to to lace their tea with arsenic. Do not show the police this post when they arrive though.

Make a small start. Modify your dream a little if your trusted others advise you. They know you well. You may have actual limitations. Although assess whether they are real insurmountable restrictions.

Even superheroes can be a little bit more cuddly than ‘the norm’ (eugh to ‘the norm and it’s normalishness anyway)

All in all, grab a kid, and learn from then. Cautionary note: make sure you know the kid, and its parents, and your record is clean.

Ask children what their dreams are. Watch how they work towards it. Observe them doing it without fear.

Then go be that kid, in older dude’s clothes, style that dream right out, and show the kids how it is done. It is the dreaming equivalent of dad/mum dancing. Others may cringe and judge you for it, but secretly they’re jealous that you have the guts to do it. Now go get that extra vodka inspiration and strut your funky dream stuff.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

7 comments on “The Ageing Guide to Continuing Dreaming

  1. Dreaming as an adult is how I ended up writing. I suppose being an author was a childhood dream, but one I gave up on until a couple years back.

    I’ve got dreams saved for when I’m even older. 😀 Things I know I can’t do right now, but that I want to do at some point. So I’m saving them for what’ll probably be seen as my midlife crisis!

  2. Personally I’m looking forward also to the retirement phase. Then the hubby and I can get up to more shenanigans armed with summer frames and mobility scooters! I love that you are keeping on dreaming Kristen. I think it keeps us going in so many ways!

  3. This is a great post! I’m still young, but I can trace my dreams from age 8 all the way to potential future dreams. My dreams actually got bigger as I got older. At 8 I wanted to be a vet. At 11 I wanted to join the army. At 13 I wanted to be a foreign media analyst for the CIA and a couple of years after that I wanted to go to college in Japan. Those last two I worked at for a long time until I eventually… just didn’t want to anymore.

    But now I want to bike around the world for 10 years. I want to publish books and sell paintings. Recently I’m thinking about taking on comic making. That’s all keeping me quite busy for the time being. But I have potential dreams for the future too. Maybe I’ll start a family. Learn to play cello or to sculpt. Maybe I’ll sail around the world. I’m keeping my options open.

    In the travel community there are plenty of older people finally pursuing their dreams. Finally deciding that now is the time and they can’t make more excuses. Excuses either mean that something else is more of a priority or that you’re scared.* The first is valid. The second should be addressed so that you can be doing what you really want.

    *Some people legitimately have things holding them back. This isn’t addressed at them.

    1. Hi Alex. Thanks for the positive feedback and for sharing how your dreams have affected and continue to affect your life. It’s great to hear from a younger person too; remember, us oldies can learn from you!

      It’s interesting how you state you worked at a few dreams until you ‘just didn’t want to anymore’. I think sometimes we outgrow our dreams or we test them out and find they weren’t for us. Nothing is wasted there. It is teaches us how to dream so we can move on to the dreams we really want to embrace. Starting small, as I mentioned in my post.

      I’m loving that you have plenty of dreams on the go in the present, and more for the future! From what I’ve seen of the travel community, there certainly are more older people embarking upon this. I know people who have retired, kids have flown the nest, and they’ve finally had the freedom to go on out there and explore. I am so looking forward to rocking this old world of ours as I aged lady!

      I get your point also that there are genuine restrictions to dreams and it’s fair to note that. I still believe we can modify the dream though. Just like the kids are teaching us to do.

      All the best with the dreaming, the painting, the biking, the cello, the sculpting, the comic making, the sailing, the writing (of course), and anything else your heart desires to pursue! Don’t forget that dad philosophy of dreaming; keep styling it out!

      1. Yes, those dreams definitely weren’t wasted! I learned a lot about myself and other things as well in the process!

        Yes, sometimes you can go for a modified dream if the big one turns out to be outside your grasp. Have to test those limits to be sure, of course. Mostly by genuine restrictions I was thinking of people using all their energy to survive. It’s easy for us luckier people to say they just have to make a way for themselves, but the truth is that sometimes life is crap and unfair and doesn’t give you a chance, or if it does you’re too busy worrying about what you’re going to do to get through the day to be able to see it. Those people also won’t be reading this, though. It’s just important to remember that they exist and we’re lucky to be able to grab onto our dreams the way we do. 🙂

        Best of luck to you as well! It sounds like you have a wonderfully supportive husband, which is a vital ingredient. Can’t have those closest to you putting you down!

  4. I’m so grateful to my family for their support–I’ve spent the last year traveling to visit friends and family in NYC, Boston, Maryland…even Ireland! I have a job that’s pretty much part-time, online work which helps, but without their support I wouldn’t be able to live as I am right now (currently the stereotypical gamer living in her parents’ basement and editing/writing for a living.) I’m pretty much living my dream now–except that I want to one day be earning all my income from my writing, and living in my own place (preferably with or near someone I’m very close to, who is currently far away.)

    I also plan to travel once my student loans are paid off–buy a car, drive around the country, then through Canada; then hop on a plane and visit Europe, Asia, Australia, etc. That’s five or so years at least into the future, but I’m looking forward to it already! 🙂

    1. We definitely need supportive people in our lives in order to follow our dreams. It’s because I have the security my husband provides that I can do this. The biggest thing is that he believes in me and this dream, particularly on the rough days when I have self-doubts.

      It’s great that you have your family’s support, Heather, to enable you to pursue your dreams. It sounds like you’re having a great time pursuing your current ambitions and formulating new dreams! Exciting times!

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