Plans. I like them. I tend to write about them. A good plan is clear, efficient, accomplishable. It requires thought, design, a grasp of the grand scheme and an eye for the details. Execute your plan well and you will have what you need. Plans have been the way of life for me for quite some time. You’ll rarely find me without a list of some kind, almost always laid out in my handy-dandy planner.
In the last three weeks though, something had been different. My plans felt…disjointed. Meager. Belabored. Dry. Looking at a list on paper wasn’t filling me with any inspiration to do the things I knew I should be doing. Practical tasks: Classes. Research. Actions to make me better. Meanwhile, my daydreams began to run rampant. I yearned for the day I could walk in the French country side to the perfect picnic spot. I imagined myself outfitted with my sketchbook, some charcoals, and a great pair of shoes to wander the streets of Paris and the Museés Louvre and D’Orsay. I wished that a new project might just fall into my lap, that I would be just perfect for that part. And I despaired, fearful of never seeing my dreams of professional musical theatre come true.
One day last week, I went for a walk and began to mull. I wouldn’t say that having these fantasies was troubling exactly (except for the latter, of course), but it was certainly curious. I wasn’t doing badly, I was still moving forward, but I wanted – desperately – for more. More for my personal life and more for my career. What emerged from my inner self was a strange but simple realization. It was suddenly clear that I had started dreaming again; like a little kid dreams of having a pony, or being an astronaut or unlimited ice cream! REAL dreams. Dreams that come from the soul. I don’t know when it happened, but it did: I had been so careful to be logical for so long, trying so hard to take everything in stride in adulthood that I accepted what was realistic and had stopped dreaming. I had somehow replaced DREAMS with PLANS. I realize now, they are not interchangeable.
Very recently I came across this quote penned by Anatole France, Nobel Prize Winner in Literature 1921:
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”
I’ve never been one for motivational posters, but I might have to pin this to the wall.
Now, I am acting on my dreams. I take a close look at those ideals, explore them, develop and nurture them, discuss them with my confidants. I reach out for advice and investigate resources. (“Ms. In The Biz” is a great place to start!) My beloved plans have new life! I suddenly have more than what I should do – I have what I could do, in the greatest optimistic sense of the word. I start by asking “What will it take of me to make this happen? What is viable? When can I begin?” Best of all, I am working towards something that matters to me. And the work matters more because I’m doing the work to help myself succeed.
My good friend Alan Kistler reminded me today, “Art is about dreams…a plan is the guide but a dream is the drive.”