Dream vs. Fantasy

Today I attended a local event that began only a few short years ago, but has quickly drawn a great number of visitors. The event focuses on a mythological world of fairies, trolls and pirates and many other characters we don’t see in the every day world that we live in. Many different age groups participated in the event as it drew similar crowds with a wide range of personalities showing up for the very same cause – to bring their fantasy world to life. I wasn’t sure when the event first began how well it would be received among the community, but it has been a huge hit and I don’t believe it will slow down anytime soon. As long as this event continues to attract people, I’mI sure the community I live in will see more and more about it as time carries on.

I am not much of a person to get into character for events such as the festival I attended today. While I did enjoy watching others act out a world of imagination and wonder, I was fine being the camera guy who was there to snap pictures of it. That is all I needed to be. Sometimes I do very good to find the time to play out the role of being myself, let alone another character. I enjoyed watching other people live out their fantasies at the festival. It reminded me of a similar hope I have had for myself for quite some time. I want to live out my dreams.

What I learned at the festival is that dreams and fantasies are very different from one another. We can put on a costume and act out a specific character. We can role play and become the very object we desire with little imagination required. Living out the fantasy world is an easy process that anyone can learn to complete. We can all live in a fantasy world if we would like to, or we could attend festivals as a pirate or a princess. It doesn’t matter what we want to do, our fantasies have no limit as long as our imaginations don’t either. The dreams we have set for our lives are quite different though. I don’t dream to sail the seas on a pirate ship and find buried treasure. I dream to have a decent job and a nice house with a happy family to fill it with excitement every day. I dream to love like I’ve never loved before and have the same in return and never lose the spark that ignited the flame that led to a lifetime of happiness. I dream that my kids will be successful because of a drive and dedication that was given to them through watching their father climb the ladder of success and always strive to reach the top. These are dreams. You can’t put a costume on to achieve any of this.

When I left the festival today, I realized I was walking out of a fantasy world. It was a world that people imagined and brought to life. In the same way, I feel we all dream up ideas about who we should be or how we should be or what we should become and we try to make it a reality. The reality is though, we are not what our dreams are. We are dreamers. We are dreamers who hopefully someday will reach the goals we have mapped out for our lives. Some of us will reach those dreams and some of us will not. My fear in life is that my dreams will always be dreams and will never become a reality. I want to be able to enjoy the fantasies of life, but I want to live my dream. I don’t want to put a costume on and pretend to be everything I ever wanted. I don’t want to hide behind a masked smile that says I have arrived at my destination in life. I want to live my dream. All of my life I have been a dreamer. I’m ready to live. I don’t want to role play anymore.

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Walking Blindfolded…

There is a game people play (I’m really not sure if it has a name) where one person places a blindfold over their eyes and tries to navigate a course while their partner directions them on where to go.  The game teaches players to learn to listen and accept guidance.  When a player can successfully make it through the course without running into anything, they win.  The more this process is practiced, the better the players will become.

Sometimes I feel like I am navigating a course as well.  I feel like I’m walking blindly, waiting for instruction, but I hear no voice.  I walk alone.  At times, If I spread out my arms and feel around, I begin to think I can do this, I can make it, but then I walk straight into a wall.  I pick myself up and begin again, only to find myself in the same situation, hitting another wall.  This game seems unwinnable.  It seems unfair.  Sometimes I wonder if the people who are supposed to be shouting out direction to me are instead sitting back and laughing while they watch me fail.  But that can’t be true.  No one is there.

I know what you might be thinking.  I guess I should point out that I am not speaking of a higher being here.  I am simply speaking of that group of people who are close to you.  The ones who shape your life by being a part of it.  This is where I lack.  When I think about it, there are plenty of people who are friendly to me.  There are a lot of people who could shout out my directions to me.  But they are so far away.  No one is close.  Everyone is far.  Every once in a while a voice gets close enough for me to hear.  It tells me where to turn, when to stop and when to go.  It tells me where to go.  It guides me.  Then I can’t hear it anymore, and I walk into the same wall again.

So I sit here, knelt down on the floor, my head dropped in despair.  Why do I keep hitting this wall?  Why can’t I find my way out of this maze?  I want to remove my blindfold, but even if I do, I have already accepted the hard truth.  I wasn’t meant to do this alone.  There were supposed to be voices guiding me.  Every wall I hit I fall down again and cry out, “Where is that voice?  Where is the voice that is supposed to guide me?”  This game is unwinnable when played alone.  Some people can’t solve the puzzle . . . they just become a part of it.  They stay in the maze.  They get lost in the game.

I don’t want this to be my fate.  If I have to hit this wall so many times I bust a hole through it, then so be it.  I don’t want to be here.  I want to get past this.  I want to win.  Sometimes the only voice of reason we hear is our own.  I can’t see where I’m going but I can remember which way not to go.  It hurts to do this alone, but I want to make it through.  I will finish this game.

Writing the story before it happens..

Yesterday was election day.  In the past, election day has been a day where I go vote then head home to turn on the television and watch results.  This year was much different for me.  Now that I am a reporter, it was my job to make sure people received information about the election.  I was the one who was responsible for writing the stories that would be in the newspaper the next day.  Let me say, the task is not an easy one when you are up against a deadline.

I was fully aware the day would be hectic.  I knew ahead of time that I would need to prepare my stories, laying the ground work for news that would be coming, so I began writing election stories prior to the vote count being taken.  This was new for me.  It was the first time I had written a story before it actually happened.  I felt though that the job would be much easier If I would anticipate outcomes based on my knowledge of what was happening and write the stories as closely to that as possible.  Of course, I was able to later change some of the information depending on what happened.  I left blank spaces for all of the numbers and additional spaces for any quotes I might receive after the election.  I found this to be very helpful in assisting me at getting the stories out in time last night.

I realized after the long day had ended, that life should also be the same way.  I have always struggled at planning ahead.  I think if something happened today that I was not ready for, I wouldn’t know what to do.  I would be lost.  There are some people who are really good at anticipating the future, I am not one of them.  I know now that preparation takes more time in the beginning, but saves a great deal of time in the end.  I really hope that in the future, in all of life’s moves, I will begin writing my stories before they happen.  I want to leave blanks for the spaces that can be filled in later, but for the most part, I want to be prepared for what happens next.  Obviously I cannot predict love.  I cannot predict tragedy.  I cannot predict the moments that change the course, but I can prepare for anything.  I can look at my life and consider the course I would like to take.  Sure, there may be changes or alterations, but If I write the story before it happens, I won’t have to start fresh each time something changes.  I will only have to fill in the blanks.

Look at your life as well.  Where do you want to be in the future?  Where do you expect to be in the future?  Where do you WANT to be in the future?  You have the ability to write the course for yourself.  This is your story.  Life is only a co-author.  Don’t let all of life’s situations tell the story for you.  You need to author this.  In the end, you will find it easier to make the best of your time if you have a pre-written life.  Don’t be the person who waits to see what happens before you decide what to write about your life.  Write it now.  It is time to start writing your story…Before it happens.