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This month I will fulfil a childhood dream

Sometimes these days I get so caught up in my day-to-day reality that I forget to take a step back and remember that I’m literally living the life I dreamed about for years.

It’s hard to remember sometimes, when that dream involves working really long hours, doing my accounts, and living surrounded by packed boxes for over a year while all the works on my flat are completed (but: my flat! my space! my home!).

I was in the shower a few moments ago thinking about the things I’d have to pack in my bag for my upcoming trip to Dublin, and it struck me that this one specifically fulfils a childhood dream I had.

As a child, I had two folders in my room entitled ‘Psychology’ and ‘Psychiatry’ respectively. In them, I would make observations about people, and when I read books that I thought were relevant to either discipline, I would also write notes about these. I was ten. I was not exactly a normal child.

I don’t think I have the folders anymore – the only thing remaining from my childhood, as far as I’m aware, is a box of books with the words “Hedgehog House” scrawled in my childish script on the outside. It was going to be the space where the hedgehogs lived when I set up my Scottish animal sanctuary / nature reserve.

That’s a dream I don’t think I’ll ever accomplish, mainly because the older I got, the more I realised how much work it’d be to set up something like that, and how much I preferred sitting inside reading.

But. BUT. I still had my other dream.

For years, I dreamed of a professor at a university one day calling me up, or coming to see me, and asking me to come to the university for a day. I’d be someone he’d want to talk to, because I’d have a good knowledge of the subject area and I’d be useful in some way to whatever project he was doing.

(In my childhood daydreams, the university professor was always a he, but that’s a discussion for another time.)

And then last week, it finally happened. Not in the subject area or even the overall discipline I assumed it would, but life throws us curveballs sometimes.

Last week I was in Switzerland at the Digital Forensics Research Workshop (DFRWS). It was brilliant, as always.

While I was sitting typing away at a rate of knots during the second workshop of the day, someone came up and tapped me on the shoulder. “Can I talk to you for a moment?” he asked, and I agreed and grabbed my computer and went to sit with him at a little table overlooking the Swiss mountains.

He asked me to come to UCD for a day on the 23rd of April, to spend time at a student workshop day, interviewing the students about their projects and writing up the research outcomes, chatting to people about ways in which we can all work together effectively.

I said yes, he said UCD would pay for it, I said great, he left, I went back into the lecture hall at Unil and carried on typing.

Now, this has sort of happened before, in that I’ve been on a psychology of religion research project for nine years (god, is it really nine years already?!), and there have been countless research trips, mainly to Oxford where it’s based, which have been paid for by the university and at which my presence was required.

But this was the first time someone has ever singled me out in a room, come up to me and asked me specifically to go to a university for a weekend, because I had the right knowledge and skillset for the job.

And at the time, it was just a passing thing, and if I’m honest part of me was like “oh god more travelling?! I’m already at four other events this month!” and I got home and didn’t really think anything more of it until I was in the shower a few minutes ago.

But nine-year-old scar at this point would be jumping up and down with joy (and probably falling out of the shower in the process – not that that’s something adult scar doesn’t do).

So. Allow me this moment to metaphorically jump up and down on my blog, and celebrate the fulfilment of a childhood dream – however small.

What things did you wish for as a child? Have any of them come true? 

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