Why have dreams?
When I first googled this, the results were, “they help you store important memories and things you’ve learned”. Agreed. Those are our unconscious sleeping dreams though. In this case, I am talking about the conscious dreams that imply an anticipated state of happiness upon arrival.
Having a dream gives me clarity and a hypothesis of how I want to live life and aim towards. It’s like a roadmap of where I think I want to go and can change along the way.
As for my childhood or present- day dreams… they are ever-evolving.
When I was in kindergarten, I loved art class. Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch fella, and he was THE man. I loved his starry night painting. The story from his art made him out to serve as a heroic image.
I daydreamed about the idea of a life where I got to create whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I later thought that living in the Netherlands was a dream of mine. Studying at the University of Amsterdam in 2017 certainly is one of my fondest memories. I’d rather be a doer than a dreamer or an “ideas gal”.
I feel like my dreams are a bunch of mosaic tiles that look beautiful from afar, but up close, look like a tangential mess of dangerous glass scattered everywhere without much linear sense.
I can’t help but probe further and ask myself: What is the difference between a dream and a desire? Are dreams similar to goals or is that ‘Productivity Jen’ kicking into gear?
I don’t know if I’d define myself as having those BIG lofty dreams. Sure, I love to imagine and have heroes I crave to be more like. It depends how I define a dream and the scale it’s on.
I knew that I had a desire to be a writer when I was younger, but I didn’t know why or how. I hated reading. It made me look stupid given my dyslexia. It was a barrier to say the least. Regardless, Anne Frank’s diary served as a north star to me. She was an ordinary girl, like any of us, who shared a priceless story.
While on family vacations growing up, my sister thought I was crazy staying up late to put pen to paper. I had to capture my adventures. I didn’t know why. I just did.
It feels cathartic to me to re-live for a few minutes my favorite parts of the day.
To be a writer isn’t any glamorous dream, like treasure to find at the Great Pyramid of Giza or to play on the Notre Dame football team or achieve the heavyweight boxing title.
I don’t want my dreams to be led by my ego or pride. I want them to come from inward and within. Dreams are, after all, what makes life joyous rather than merely tolerable.
This was originally published in Letter 97 on February 11, 2022