Living Our Dreams with Eyes Wide Open
Dreams, much like everything else that makes us what we are, play an important role in our life when they are balanced and harmonious. There are even more dreams in this world than there are people; and it just happens that, whether out of fear, shame, or dejection, we often lock them away in the back of our mind to avoid being hurt – and this inevitably surrenders a wonderful part of us.
What is life? A frenzy. What is life?
An illusion, a shadow, a story.
And the greatest good is little enough:
for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams.
-Calderón de la Barca-
We keep locking our dreams up and throwing away the key, repeatedly. And, without even realizing it, we grow older and older without becoming wiser or happier.
This is a silent, stubborn process that goes against every fiber in our being; it goes against our nature, and it undermines every ounce of our hope. Dreams are not foolish hopes. They are a wise, heartfelt breed of hope: that which makes us human and awakens us to live a new day and not suffer through another day.
When we lock up our hopes and dreams, we also lock up our imagination and ability to plan for the future. We banish everything outside of our routine and we start to feel relieved when our calendar appears to be one photocopy after another.
We could say that there are two main kinds of dreams: those which can and should be achieved in a relatively short amount of time (short-term dreams), and those which are achieved little by little and aim to build a better future (long-term dreams).
This dichotomy of dreams is fundamental to understand their implications and implementation. Some provide a lesson to be learned and require that you exert continual effort, while others entice a passionate response and take little actual effort.
Three types of dreamers
And just as there is more than one type of dream, there are three types of dreamers.
The first type looks forward, making goals of easy targets, goals that do not involve the sacrifice of the ‘normality’ they strive to maintain. Even they fear what little self-esteem they do have and they work, above all, to minimize the possibility of failing to achieve their goals as quickly as possible.
These are the people who would only get on a boat if they knew beforehand that the wind would blow in their favor, that there would not be a storm, and that in command of the ship was the most experienced captain of the navy; they are the ones who never take risks for fear of not winning, and who do not take walks for fear of tripping on a stone.
But, as you know, there are others: the second type of dreamers dream of exciting goals that actually pose a challenge for them.
Finally, there are the people who never really set foot on earth. In other words, they live more in the future than in the present. They usually pursue big dreams – but their dreams are minimally processed and they as individuals are rarely motivated to follow through. That is to say, they have big dreams but struggle with taking action.
Such people are the ones we know as the ‘dreamers.’ They are souls who live on a constant emotional roller coaster, far from the actuality of their lives. In a sense, they are big children who are usually characterized by naivety and a passive attitude toward the present.
They cannot stand routine and their favorite activity is to start new things, a characteristic they share with the second type of dreamer. But what they are is infatuated with beginnings with little potential to finish anything. Moreover, finishing any project demands that they practice very strong discipline and self-control, which is something they are little accustomed to doing.
So far, we have described three kinds of dreamers as if they were three different colors, but the truth is that people rarely fit into just one category exclusively, although we may identify more with one than the others.
In fact, chances are that, depending on the situation in which we find ourselves, we might better refer to ourselves as a “triangular dreamer,” taking facets of each type, promoting in ourselves a kind of plurality and growth.
I think that the happiest people are those who most closely identify with the second type of dreamer, because they fight to see the end and achieve something, no matter how significant.
So, although the ability and propensity to dream is instilled in us from birth, what remains clear is that it is in our hands to either make our dreams a reality or let them rot away, locked up somewhere. Because if everything is just an illusion, let’s choose the best of them and test our wings, because that is the only way we can feed our liberty and nurture our spirit to become better people.
Because only when you start to fly can you begin to understand the importance of chasing and achieving your dreams… we are all bright stars with dreams and aspirations that can either drag us down or inspire us to achieve. Why not choose the latter?