The Power of Dreaming

Betsy - Champaign, Illinois
Entered on October 16, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in dreaming. The kind of dreaming I do while awake. The kind I do to imagine who I can become.

I’ve often heard the phrases “follow your dreams” and “dream big.” But these aphorisms don’t tell us how to do it, just that we should.

I didn’t realize how much I used to daydream until recently when it dawned on me that I had no vision of my future to pursue. What had happened? When did I stop evoking my next dream? So I set about remembering how to do it.

When I was a teen I spent untold hours lying on my bed listening to music, letting my mind wander to possibilities of what my life would be like. Sure, there were fantasies mixed in but I also envisioned myself as the successful adult I’d become.

As the years passed, it seemed I was always developing a new picture of myself. This led me into a variety of careers: theatre director, owner of a pet sitting service, interior decorator, educator….

In my mid thirties, I dreamt of spending a month backpacking alone through Thailand. Six months later, on a restaurant server’s income, I’d saved enough money for both the trip and to be without an income for that month. It was a great lesson in the power of dreaming.

So how was it that ten years later I’d forgotten the importance of dreaming? This past year I realized that I had achieved all of the major life goals I’d conjured up. I was drifting. Nothing was driving me.

If my health holds out and I don’t get hit by a bus, I can easily live another 45 years. It’s much too early to stop dreaming.

So I’ve started to allow myself little periods of time when I can sit back – undistracted by work, TV, email, radio, loved ones, the internet, and even my own busy mind – to simply let my thoughts meander and drift where they will. I ask myself – what do I want to do with my life?

This return to dreaming has brought with it a renewed optimism. I still have much to accomplish, and am a long way from being who I want to be. And I believe the only way I can figure who I am is by dreaming it.