Earlier this year I realised that although I have spent most of my life studying and working in academia, when I daydream I don't dream about publishing papers, giving lectures or attending conferences. I dream about living on a farm, waking early to milk the cows and collect the eggs. I dream about owning a plot of land and raising some livestock and growing some crops. This has always been my daydream for years now, but I hardly talked about it or even consciously thought of it as something achievable.
Watching the TV series "It's Not Easy Being Green" stirred in me such feeling of envy and longing that I spoke to my husband, Ed about it. I told him this was what I really wanted to do, and I'd like to try to make it a reality.
I was on tenterhooks to see his response. If he had laughed at me and called me crazy, I would have perhaps planted a few vegetables in our garden and tried to satisfy myself with that. He didn't laugh at me. He didn't say much either, although that's Ed all over. But the next day he called me over to the computer and said "Look at this". He had been searching on the Internet for smallholdings for sale and had found some properties he liked the look of.
Since then we have tried to gain the knowledge and skills we need to make our dream a reality. We have got a small allotment and grown some crops there. We have built a chicken run in the garden and populated it with two hens. We started this blog which has been much more successful than we ever dreamed, and was recently featured in The Times. More importantly, the blog also helped us make contact with a lot of really helpful and friendly people who dream the same dream as us. Some of them have gone substantially further along the road to self-sufficiency that we have.
In 2006 I also taught students in prisons for the first time, which was very rewarding and educational for me. I developed my relationship with my dad as we spent a lot of time together emptying his house in Liverpool and selling it, which allowed him to settle permanently in Ireland. The kitchen and master bedroom got remodelled following the subsidence we suffered in 2005. Sam, our youngest, started full-time school, and his teacher shared with us her concerns that he has Asperger's Syndrome just like our eldest son (the same teacher was the first to spot the obvious that time, too). So we have begun the protracted diagnosis procedure again.
But it has been our change of direction that has dominated the year. We will look back on 2006 as the year we stared making our dream a reality. The first step was admitting what we dreamed about. What do you dream about?