Mid-terms have come and gone and now it’s time to start making those spring semester schedules. Sophomores, some of you are coming to terms with choosing a major. Juniors, you’re off scheduling grad-checks and Seniors, you are preparing to graduate. The real world is coming for you. To those who think they have the perfect life plan; to those who spend all their time making “To Do” lists; to those who wake up with an agenda; to those who have horse blinders super-glued to their heads; to those who have cried their eyes dry because suddenly the plan seems unreachable. I’m talking to you.
Put down the pen and paper. Close out of Notes and your iPhone Reminders apps. Shut down your brain and throw away the planner. You don’t need them. You don’t need a plan. What you need, is a dream.
The difference between plans and dreams is simple. Plans leave no room to adventure, to explore beyond borders, to stop and smell the roses. Plans are set in stone, at least in our minds. When people say, “I have a plan,” it’s done, no need to try new things and no room for breaks. The plan has been set and your motion is triggered only by the plan. But often, plans change because life is never the same day after day. New things are always happening. We were born a curious people. Plans take away curiosity and replace it with a sense of all-knowing. When something happens we don’t expect, the world can appear to be crashing down around you because it “wasn’t part of the plan.” Let’s be honest, we don’t know everything. So really, we shouldn’t even be able to make a plan.
Dreams, on the other hand, require not all-knowingness, but faith. Faith that your dearly held and hoped-for dream will come true. Dreams inspire and motivate us to keep moving, to keep discovering new things, to stop and smell every flower we can get our hands on. Dreams come to us in various ways, through music, in our sleep, in a heart-touching moment, on a rainy day, while sitting by the ocean. Dreams are a part of who we are and can grow and change as life does and as you do. We all grow up and gain vaster interests.
Because dreams require faith and not complete reliance on ourselves, we are free to enjoy the everyday adventures life gives us. We don’t know what’s around every corner. There’s an expression that says when one door closes, another opens. Though that may be true, it is also true that there are doors within doors. One door might lead to your dream. Another door might lead to another door that will lead to your dream, or another dream. You just never know. You may dream of becoming one thing but that dream may lead to you becoming something else. Perhaps the only plan we should have, is to keep dreaming.
A plan is as a single star in a night sky, but a dream, which is constantly leading to more and more dreaming, is as a hundred stars making a constellation, or a billion stars making up the Milky Way. Stop planning and start dreaming. Let your dreams turn your life into a masterpiece.