When I was growing up, phrases like “she’s a bit of a dreamer” and “he’s always got his head in the clouds that one” were uttered about children that didn’t quite fit the expected mould of the keen and focused student. I’m sure you’ve heard much the same, and other variations.
These are polite phrases that are usually said at best with a roll of the eyes and slightly patronising smile, and at worst with a genuine disappointment, almost condemnation that the child dares to dream and wonder and let their mind go off on fantastic adventures.
In other words it’s very rarely meant as complimentary.
I was somewhere in between. I often went off on dreamy reveries, I had an imaginary friend called Jamie, I got lost in books for hours, I loved writing stories myself, I reenacted virtually every scene of Star Wars with my toys, and so on.
But I was also quite studious and was able to concentrate enough on the likes of Maths and Science to not be a worry to my teachers and be dumped in the “hopeless dreamer” pigeon hole.
But I am a hopeless dreamer, and I’m proud of it.
People are often so scared to dream, to think outside of the usual confines of what they are told is “ok” or “normal”.
I’ll sometimes in conversation say something like: “You know how all your favourite experiences you record as little memory movies and then file them in your head in a giant film library so you can recall them whenever you wish?”
Or: “You know how when you meet someone and they become really important to you, you give them a room in your head where they can comfortably stay, and they can decorate and furnish it how they wish, hang out there any time they want, and you can pop in and see them anytime?”
The majority of people look at me with an expression somewhere between confusion and complete incomprehension, as if I’d just recited a sonnet of Shakespeare in Ancient Armenian. Backwards. Maybe you’re reading this and have a similar expression on your face!
But it’s these such structures and ideas in my mind that allow me the freedom to think, to create, to produce new ideas, to write.
If I thought in very regimented, linear, limited ways, I could only create the same way.
We need to let our minds ramble and tumble and go where they wish to.
If we give them that freedom, we end up in all kinds of wonderful places, creating new characters, new worlds, new ideas, new inventions.
Just like the 7 year old child that’s thought of as “a bit of a dreamer” does.
How often do you let your mind wander, how often do you freely and spontaneous create without censoring, without thinking you “should” stick to the rules, or not be so dreamy or idealistic?
If it’s rarely or never, then you’re not giving your creative mind the freedom it deserves.
And more than that, you’re not giving the rest of the world the opportunity to share in all the amazing art and ideas you have dormant inside you just waiting to be explored.
Be a dreamer. Be proud of it. We need you more than ever.