Dreams are different from goals. A goal is "I will lose 20 pounds." A dream is "when I lose those 20 pounds, I will be discovered and become the world's first over-35 super model!" I'm pretty good at goals. I can make the plans, make a list of things to get done, start crossing those off. But dreams often require a bit of faith, a bit of hope, a bit of counting on chance. Dreams need you to be able to picture a new way of looking at your life. I'm not so good at those things.
I view myself as a practical person. Maybe it's my anxiety, maybe it's because, at heart, I am a scientist, but I when I make plans, I'm not comfortable with taking chances. It's not a bad thing: I have a steady job, a 401K, the sorts of things a responsible adult should have. But I don't really have dreams. When I try to dream, I see where it can go wrong. I see that I might need someone or something to come through that I can't control. And so I hesitate, afraid to commit to a dream.
On a recent episode of "Treme," someone criticized New Orleans, saying that it was nothing but "drunks and dreamers." And with that, I understood why I love New Orleans. When I visit New Orleans, I get to see the dreamers. I hear the stories of how they just packed a bag and moved there, or came to visit and just never left. Maybe it didn't turn out like they planned, but for a moment, they had the courage to give in to a dream. I think to myself, "I could never do that." I wonder what it would be like to believe in what could be over what current was. Is that enough? It seems to be.
Here's the funny thing: I have given into a dream. And it was the best thing that ever happen to me. So, why am I afraid to dream now?
I want bravery. I want bravery so that I can dream. I admire the dreamers because they have a bravery that I can only hope to have. One day, I may give into a dream, and you might shake your head at that crazy thing I just did. But don't worry; I'll still have my 401K.