Dreams vs Reality vs Dreams.

Updated: Aug 2, 2020

There is a lot to be said for the wisdom that living in this world for 40 years provides. I really hate reading on people’s profiles in the education section: ‘The University of Life’, but it can’t be denied that time spent living life can be an amazing form of education. ‘Old and wise’ is a catch phrase for a reason.

When I was a kid I loved cartoons, reading adventure books, I used to daydream, imagine elaborate stories and would often spend time imagining what I would do once I became an adult. I could get so excited about the possibilities of what I would do once the shackles of school and the limitations of being controlled by adults was over. Trying to copy the famous music artists that I saw on TV I once recorded my own song on my tape recorder. It was called ‘Help me take my dog to New York City’, written in about 10 minutes and my 7-8 year old self was very proud of it. I think it consisted of only a chorus and half a verse but back then my impatience always won out over properly completing the job. Around the same age I choreographed an interpretive dance to a musical track from the 1941 cartoon movie ‘Dumbo’. I spent a bit more time and was a bit more thorough with that project and after a lot of deliberation due to fear of being ridiculed by my class-mates, I eventually did perform it in front of the class. I don’t remember being made fun of, which might be because the trauma was so severe that I’ve blocked it out for good… but it also didn’t catapult me into stardom, which was my secret hope for the whole affair. :D

When we are young we live by our imaginations, the world is a magical place filled with endless possibilities to be explored. Through the innocent perspective of a young person’s eyes and mind, being rich and famous is the ultimate possible reality. But, as we grow older we become more aware of the widely held view or maybe even reality… that life is more serious, is limited. The view that we can’t always get or do what we want to, that the money & fame paraded in front of us daily through media is only for the lucky few, that for most of us the best we can hope for is a good job, a good home and a happy family.

Speaking for myself and for probably quite a large percentage of others, when I was a teenager the ultimate goal of attaining a good job, a good home and a happy family wasn’t very exciting or inspiring. I was far more interested in being free and having a good time. All of the serious stuff could come later. My dreams were inspired through stories, from movies and cartoons, adventure books, glimpses of life in England & Wales told to me by my mother. These things were nothing like my reality growing up in suburban Australia, so as soon as I was given the chance I wanted to travel and to see these things for myself. I wanted to touch them and know that they weren’t brought to life purely in stories and tales, that they were real. I hadn’t given up hope for an amazing life without limitations and even though I didn’t know how I could achieve such heights, I was pretty sure the answers could be found out there in the big, wide world.

My very first international trip was at age 15 to London and Paris. As a very shy and awkward teenager I spent that trip in a state of awe and fear in equal measures. The fear was through insecurity of being around people I didn’t know, but the awe was through all of the amazing little things that I still remember so clearly:

· The air being so cold that it hurt my throat breathing.

· Ice on the footpath.

· Different electrical plugs.

· Different products on the supermarket shelves & using different colour & shaped money to pay for them.

· Electric trains & London Underground tube trains.

· Masses of people & traffic.

· Old buildings everywhere.

· The taste & texture of a real French croissant, in a Parisian hotel basement dining room.

· Traffic & car horns going the entire night outside my hotel window.

· Sitting in the front passenger seat of a left-hand drive car being driven around Paris. (Fairground by Simply Red was on the radio.)

· All the smells & sounds that go along with all of the above.

That trip affirmed for me, in a childlike way, that dreams, adventures and fantasy could exist in the real world. The stories I had seen on TV, read in books and heard from adults were based and inspired from something real, and that was extremely exciting! I had experienced something tangible and it was the first stone of a foundation laid for the life I was going to lead.

As I grew up my view of life and its possibilities evolved into something more mature but it never lost the element of belief that ‘anything is possible’. Of course I know that ‘anything’ is indeed not possible, for example I will never be a successful scientist or mathematician… I don’t have the mental ability to achieve that. But I could break a Guinness World Record of some description, or learn to fly a jumbo jet if I dedicated the required time and effort to achieving them. If I still held on to that childlike dream of becoming rich and famous through the field of artistry, then an element of luck would be required, as well as the skill of course. Would I be in the right place at the right time, do I know the right people to get me on my way, does my work connect with a large enough audience?

These days my dreams consist of things of a more down-to-earth nature. I would still love to be financially free (be rich!) for the opportunities and possibilities it would bring for myself, my loved ones and my community, but I don’t expect or depend on that happening in my lifetime. I would like to experience fame (be famous!) to see how it would affect my life and how I’d deal with it… but would want to be able to turn it off or hand it back once I’d had enough of it!

Ricky Gervais has stated in an interview that he never sought fame in and of itself, but considered that it might come to him one day as a result of achieving outstanding results within his field of work. Ricky is generally considered to be a very grounded person who hasn’t let his fame affect his life in a negative way, he attributes this to not chasing fame as an end within itself and that he became famous after 40, after he’d already lived a good amount of his life. He understands how people who become famous very young are at risk of becoming out of touch with reality, out of control, lose themselves in narcissism, become the stereotypical nightmare celebrity. He’s also seen people come out the other side of fame more grounded after hitting the ceiling, reaching a turning point and coming back down to reality. Similarly, I’ve now worked with enough famous music artists and actors over the last 8 years to agree completely with Ricky’s point of view and I feel so lucky to have learnt that lesson firsthand. I’ve seen that money and fame is not always the answer to everyone’s problems, in fact from what I’ve seen it can make life much more complicated if the person who it’s happening to isn’t ready for it, or isn’t able to handle it. Once it’s understood that being rich and famous does not automatically equal happiness, I think we are one step closer to understanding what does.

After learning a little bit about the reality of fame and fortune I found myself looking more into the nature of society. Russell Brand planted the seed of my curiosity here after I saw an episode of his YouTube show ‘The Trews’ back in 2014. Watching Russell question the motives of media outlets, seeing him fearlessly take on political leaders and fight against the injustices committed by big corporations towards the powerless was like an awakening for me. Until that point I hadn’t fully understood something within myself that had felt wrong and been bothering me for most of my life. I can remember as a child at times asking my mother if there was something wrong with me, feeling like there was a big secret that everyone except me was in on. If you don’t know what I mean, maybe the movie The Matrix is a good comparison where Neo is trying to figure out what’s wrong with the world, but can’t quite put his finger on it... until the big red pill comes along. :D Something like that, but more subtle.

Once you start looking into the way society is structured, politics and the economy it’s like falling into the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland. What is the best societal and economic structure? What can be learnt from history and what can bring about change for the better? The answers are not simple and even Russell Brand discovered that he needed to go away for a while and do some serious study just to equip himself with the tools required to begin this seemingly never-ending quest!

I started into the rabbit hole with a very clear and simple objective, I wanted to boil down the whole thing to its most simple elements, expose the root problems and figure out how it can be changed for the best. Ha, well, this is something that will probably occupy me to some degree for the rest of my life, but by 2018 I had discovered enough to relieve myself of that lifelong feeling of not understanding the world. I’m certainly not saying that I now fully understand the world, but one thing that’s become clear is that most of the population doesn’t care or doesn’t have time to care how it is run. They are too busy being distracted and surviving. That is the point of difference that I’d been feeling between most others and myself.

In 2018 I did my best at unearthing the root problems and proposing an alternative future by way of some writings. I created a website and posted those writings on the ‘About’ page. It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders by getting those thoughts and beliefs onto ‘paper’ so-to-speak, despite knowing that there is infinitely more to learn and discover around the subject. It’s like a light has been flicked on in a big room that I’d been unknowingly searching for my entire life, and now that I’ve found it I can spend the rest of my life decorating and furnishing that room at my leisure.

Like I said before, these days my dreams are more of a down-to-earth nature than my childhood stage ambitions. My happiness isn’t constant, but it hangs around a lot more these days than it ever has. There is still impatience in me, I still get angry with how the world is run sometimes, but those feelings leave almost as quickly as they come and what’s left is a kind of peace in just being.

I look forward to the rest of my life and I still believe that nearly anything is possible! How have your dreams evolved since you were a child, and how much have they shaped your reality?

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