Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fantasies and Dreams

"“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.” - T.E. Lawrence

For years I believe I was a dreamer. I'd have ideas (Oh I had ideas), I had plans, I had things that I thought would be cool to do. I had things that were not real but could be real, if only I bring them to pass.

But over time, dreams became fantasies. They're real not the same: dreams are something which can come to pass (albeit with work and hard effort), while fantasies are simply flights of fancy that can never come true. And they're not just the purely sexual kind that our culture so often defines them as: I am as likely to be a starship captain as am I to date a top tier model.

How did I get here? Dreams turn into fantasies when there is no longer any chance for dreams to come true. Whether by circumstance, whether by purpose, whether by the actions of others, too often we simply give up on them as being achievable. And so we turn to fantasies: they're not ever achievable, but at least that means that they have no chance of being mocked or never coming true or being crushed by others.

But fantasies cannot sustain a person. Sure, they're exciting and give one a place to stuff the frustrations of our day to day existence; however, at some point we discover that they are limited in scope. They simply turn into movies in our mind, playing over and over again as time passes us by.

To discover a dream after years of fantasy is hard; to actually acknowledge that it is something that is still capable of being accomplished after years is more difficult still. And the supreme step, to put it before another at the risk of having it mocked and be labeled "unachievable" the second time around, too often feels like watching the dream die all over again.

But in the end there is no choice. We are only ever given the choice of going forward or going back, never remaining in stasis. And at the end of our lives (and who knows when that will truly be) our family and friends will be enriched in remembering us as someone with dreams even if we failed at them instead of someone with fantasies that never did anything but live in our own self-defined internal realms.

No comments: