Dreaming & Doing . . .

A few days ago, someone commented that I am “a dreamer, not a doer”, and this pronouncement gave me pause and quickly took up residence in my thought addled mind. My visceral reaction to this comment was one of indignation and frustration, especially when it was followed up with the remark, “I hope you prove me wrong”.  As I am apt to do when I receive feedback that feels more destructive than constructive, I erected a wall in an attempt to block out the words and the feelings it awakened in me.  That said, since the wall was erected after the fact, instead of keeping out the words that stung, it actually trapped them inside my head, where they pushed themselves to the forefront of my mind, clamoring for my attention.  The words were uninvited guests, but true to form, I became the gracious hostess and entertained them.

As I sat with these words, I accepted them for what they are, letters strung together to form the words this person chose to convey an opinion.  It was well within this person’s right to formulate and articulate these thoughts and perspectives, just as it was, and still is, well within my right to not accept them carte blanche.  What first put me on the defensive soon gave way to some much-needed self-reflection that proved to be beneficial in unexpected ways.

I am a dreamer, and I am a doer.  You really cannot have one without the other, if you ever want to make a dream come true or make what you do purposeful and meaningful.  There is a delicate balance between the two, and while I am guilty of allowing them to get out of balance from time to time, I remain a combination of both nonetheless.  The fact that this person first saw me as a dreamer is a rather big compliment actually, as I have spent much of my life being a doer who has often not allowed myself either to dream at all or to pursue a dream that I have conjured up, for fear that I will fail, that the dream in and of itself is not practical, and/or  countless other excuses and justifications for spending a life pf doing, rather than living a life of being.  At times, I have felt like my life is a “Things To Do” list.  Graduate college-check.  Get a job-check.  Get married-check.  Buy a house-check. Have children-check.  It felt as if I were merely going through the motions, and I often felt like I had run out of dreams of my own.  I don’t know if my work ethic and practicality are products of my family of origin or of my generation, or maybe, it is a combination of both.  Whatever the reason, I was a doer who desperately wanted to be a dreamer.

With my divorce, coping with the anxiety and depression, and the aftermath of all three, I was left without a neatly outlined list of things to do and had no specific dreams to follow.  There have been many times during the past year when I have taken stock of my life and all that has happened, and I have looked around and  asked myself, “What happened?”  I was not happy before everything imploded, so, I didn’t want to go back to my former life, but I was not sure where I was in the present or where I was going in the future.  I was emotionally, mentally, and spiritually homeless. 

It only has been of late that I have begun to allow myself to really dream, and I mean to dream some pretty big dreams for this girl.  I have personal and professional dreams that I am working on and that are beginning to move from being a vision that I have held close in my head and in my heart to a vision that is starting to show itself in my daily life.  This is a vision I guard closely and rarely share with anyone, partly because it is so very personal and partly because I no longer feel the need to build a consensus to validate or support the pursuit of my dreams.   Each day the vision comes more into focus, and the fears and doubts I have about my making my dreams come true are being replaced by the faith and knowledge that the outcome is not as important as the journey, for in the end, everything will work out in my best interest. 

So, I will continue to dream and to do, and I do not have to prove this to the person who made the comment that led to this post or to anyone else for that matter.  As long as I balance the dreaming and the doing, I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself.  There are amazing changes on the horizon, and as my dreams become a reality, I will allow myself to dream even more dreams. 

That’s another story . . .

Categories: That's Another Story

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2 replies

  1. This a fantastic heartfelt post. It captures my own thoughts on this concept remarkably as I too have reflected on whether I am following my dreams or just on some treadmill of life, ticking off a never-ending ‘to-do’ list day in and year out.
    Since my separation, I have focussed more on what I want to ‘be’ rather than what I want to ‘do’. This is actually empowering, as I have full and total control. More than that, and since I have been doing that, the dreams are coming and they are awesome… the dreams of who I would like to be, the type of person I would like to become. And the dreams are achievable, so achievable they I have now turned my dreams into my ‘aims’.
    Good luck with your own dreams as they become reality and then more dreams to come after that.

    As for the person who made the comment to you…….
    “I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
    ― W.B. Yeats, The Wind Among the Reeds 1899


    • Elizabeth, thank you so much for such a lovely response, as it truly touched my heart. It never ceases to amaze me how people who’ve never met and who live on opposite sides of the world can share experiences and feelings that resemble one another. Your comments about dreams resonate w/me, and I will keep them in mind, as I continue to dream and do. I wish you all the best as you continue on your journey toward your dreams, and I take heart in knowing I am not alone in this quest.


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