Thursday, 6 March 2014

Rat race

She's young with fresh, dewy skin and an athletic dancers physique. She teaches my children street dance with some pumping tunes overlooking The Weald, an area of outstanding natural beauty, possibly the prettiest dance studio in the country but not very street. I ask how she has come to teach street dance and she tells me a story of being classically trained in ballet, of dancing professionally in Paris, of the gruelling hours and fierce competition. She then tells me she gave it up to settle down, because it's about time she did. She can't be more than 24.

Do you stop following your dreams at 24 because you are terrified you might be left behind in life's race? To stop dancing because you need a mortgage, to stop travelling because society tells you need a proper job, a partner, maybe some kids but definitely a mortgage.

I feel I am encouraging my girls to be inspired, to seek challenges, to follow their passions and the ultimate, to find happiness. The test, exams and endless learning starts at 4, so they can obtain meaningless qualifications, to get a good job - and finally the pinnacle, a mortgage.

"She's a perfectionist P, she likes to get things right," her school teacher told me at the parent consultation this week. "She will do very well in her GCSE's."

She's 5. Five years old. I want her to be her wild self and make up dance routines in her bedroom, make cakes with mud, giggle endlessly at poo and fart jokes because according to this life she only has another 15 years to be able to do this. Before she settles down.

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