When I hear someone say ‘You’re very brave’…

…I always envisage the unsaid caveat, the ‘but’ that is swallowed in an intransitive pause or implicit in the raised eyebrow, the drawing of a breath. Basically I can’t hear the expression without thinking it somehow a rejection of whatever dream or plan or risk I’ve laid out as a pursuit. At an alumni dinner last weekend we were both feeling the relief of the opportunity to talk through our plans again with a new audience. To say it all again fresh, relive the excitement of it all without the tinge of tiredness that I feel has crept into my posts or attempted posts, because we haven’t really gone anywhere since we last broke through our fears about France being a reality. It’s now so real that on some level it feels mundane to talk about whether we’ll do it, or to explore what houses are on for sale or even to look at photos of the area. We want to be out there, but even April and our recce is six months away. Six months to our trip, two years until we might be in the prime position to buy something, and even six months after that if what happens next adheres in any way to our initial plans. It doesn’t even feel brave anymore, if I’m honest, it feels inevitable. It feels ludicrous to imagine an alternative. But again talking it through for someone else’s first listen was exciting exactly because it made it all feel unsure again, not least because at this point there is no next step we can be discussing about taking, no immediate plan we’re putting in action. Apart from hardcore decorating that is. Apart from the prep for the dream, the admin and enabling. What was most magical about this dinner, though, was that this assertion of our bravery wasn’t caveated or compromised. There was no qualifying silence, no implication that we were brave, but foolhardy, that we had big dreams but would soon learn. The atmosphere was at once challenging and constructive – although most of my discussion with those nearby was about homeschooling – and it was doubly exciting to be speaking to a group of people for whom dreams weren’t exclusively the preserve of ‘other people’ and who responded to our quest with awe, happiness and excitement. The fact I can sit and write about our dream again is something in itself. I’ve hit the brick wall of dreaming where the idea is fully expressed, the hope is solidified. We know what we want, and of course now all I want is to have it – and I can’t spend the next two years writing erratic posts about how much I wish I wasn’t having to wait. Dreaming is as much about waiting as it is about doing, perhaps, waiting but knowing when the wait will be over.

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