The Dreams that Aren’t, and why they still matter

I think it was after seeing “Bridget Jones’s Diary” that I started dreaming in earnest of my future “single girl life.” Bridget’s little London flat has serious charm–a balcony, French doors, whitewashed beadboard, cozy colors. With an as-yet unrealized love of decor, her apartment had serious appeal to me.

Under this inspiration, I started to dream of my own quirky-yet-chic single girl place, in a trendy neighborhood where I could walk to the cafes and bars for drinks after work. And of course, I’d have some shiny career that would enable me to invest in designer shoes and handbags.

Bridget’s flat is above the real Globe Pub. I can’t find images of the inside–just go watch the movie!

“Bridget Jones’ Diary” did a few other things for me, too. I first saw it over Christmas vacation sophomore year of my undergrad. I was housebound with mono after a semester of too much partying. I made a decision then to take better care of myself–I had to be healthy before heading to Thailand in May for my semester abroad.

It also inspired to keep my own diary–a highly effective self-reflection exercise. Not that I credit this movie with changing my life, but I did do much better in that next semester and I met my now-husband the first week I was in Thailand.

Mike and I, actually meeting for the first time.

But this meant that, other than 10 months when I went back to Bangkok and lived in a hotel room, I never ended up having that single girl apartment. Instead, I came back to the US, lived with my parents, and then moved to Montreal to be with Mike.

Now I’m very happy as the wife of a wonderful husband, living in our cozy, little brick house with our dog. But sometimes I get nostalgic for the dream that never was.

I guess it’s like my mom said. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and it’s impossible to foresee and plot out every detail. But just as we gain from all experiences, I think even the unrealized dreams still have value. They inform our priorities and help us learn about our selves.

What is it in that “single girl” life that I idealized? The cute apartment, the fun times with friends, the professional lifestyle. On a less specific (or maybe less superficial) level, these are the equivalent of: having a beautiful place to live (and decorate), having fulfilling relationships, and setting and reaching goals. I have all of those things now, if in slight variation.

So while I tease my husband about how he robbed me of my bachelorette life, I just tuck that dream away and bring it out sometimes to reflect on, knowing that what I have now is really just the upgraded version–something I couldn’t even have dreamed of back as a sophomore in college.

Do you have dreams that never were (or maybe ones that were so ridiculous you wonder how you ever thought they were a good idea)?

4 responses to “The Dreams that Aren’t, and why they still matter

  1. Pingback: The Ideal Self « the self-styled life·

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  4. I had the perfect preparation to live abroad and raise a family there. Interesting how the people with no language skills, have never left the state much less country, etc. have lived out careers abroad. And, I am married 33 years to a rancher…I have had a very rewarding and fulfilling career…I am very blessed.

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