The idea of someone being a “dreamer” vs. being a “realist” isn’t a new notion by any means. It’s also not something that’s rarely discussed in television, film and of course, literature. Characters in these mediums are usually categorized as being one or the other. You’re either the whimsical out-of-touch dreamer or the straightforward down-to-earth realist. Though the debate of someone being a dreamer or being a realist isn’t a fresh, new idea, it is one that I’ve only recently started realizing who I am in terms of these categories.
Stereotypically speaking, I’ve noticed that realists are depicted as those who never “lighten up” or think outside the box. They’re depicted as the ones who are constantly trying to bring the dreamers down. A “buzz kill,” if you will. Opposite the realists, we have the dreamers. Stereotypically the ones who live in a dream world and treat everything as if it’s fantasy. They do things that are foolish and hurt people because they don’t see the consequences of their actions. The ones who never take anything serious, no matter how serious something is. They’re unrealistic in every way.
I’d never really begun thinking about myself in terms of being one or the other pretty much because I wasn’t exactly sure where exactly I feel and also because I didn’t want to really think about it and find out which of the two I was. To me, there were negative connotations associated with both that I didn’t want to wake-up and see that they applied to my own person.
It wasn’t until I saw a particular episode of Modern Family that I began thinking of realists vs. dreamers as more than something vs. something and more of how they help and compliment one another.
“There are dreamers and there are realists in this world. You’d think the dreamers would find the dreamers and the realists would find the realists, but more often than not the opposite is true. You see, the dreamers need the realists to keep them from soaring too close to the sun. And the realists, well without the dreamers, they might not ever get off the ground.”
For some reason, that quote really stuck with me and made me think more about how I fit in with that because it was more about how being a dreamer or being a realist could help the other, not how they could negatively affect the other.
So, who’s ready? My first declaration outloud about where I fit in in the whole debate. I’m a dreamer. Which I’m sure many of you are thinking “no shit Sherlock.” But I find it easier to pinpoint someone you know well than it is for them to.
The thing about dreamers is we have all these big plans. You frequently hear that it’s the dreamers that change the world or whatever that cliche is, but that’s not necessarily true. The thing about us is we want to. We have magnificent plans to. We just don’t know how. I find myself making huge plans in my mind but never actually doing anything about them because I don’t actually know how. It’s the realists that know how. They’re the ones who know how to get there. How to plan. The dreamers only know about the goal. About what they want but not necessarily how to go about getting there.
I think that’s why I love music, movies and books so much because they allow me to live in this fantasy world without any actual consequences. I can see these characters and stories unfold and how their plans workout which is thrilling to me since I never really know a concrete way on how to make my own plans workout.
I’m also very much out of touch with reality a majority of the time. Not that I don’t know what’s going on around me. I’m very invested in the lives of my friends and family and what is going on in the world but I would say that sometimes I have a warped reality of my own world and how my actions affect others. A lot of times the decisions I make are made in the moment without me thinking about how they’re going to impact others or I have an unrealistic expectation on how they’re going to impact others. Not that I don’t care about the impacts. That’s probably why I’m never on time or flake out at the last minute.
But enough about the negative aspects of my diagnosis of being a dreamer. Being a dreamer is also how I’m able to be, what I think of myself as being, a happy and laidback person. It’s also what makes me, what I consider to be fairly well read, well watched (in terms of film and television) and also extremely invested in music. It’s how I’m still unexplainably happy almost 24 hours after a concert experience. (JOHN MAYER IN A BANDANA CRUSHING IT ON GUITAR AND HIS ANGELIC VOICE. Need I say more?)
The thing about being a dreamer that Modern Family points out, and is so very true, is that without the realists we would soar too close to the sun. We need the realists in our lives. And probably more than a couple. Luckily, I have more than a couple in my life to guide me and keep me from ending up in a different country with no plan or money and suddently unhappy. Because I’m almost positive is what would happen if I was constantly surrounded by other dreamers. Like I said, I’m not good at the planning or consequences parts.
So this one is for the realists in my life. Thank you for occasionally bringing me back to reality and indulging my whims to keep myself from feeling crushed by gravity.
Just keep me where the light is.