When the Answer is to Dream

written by ashley rubell

Rainer Tenhunen

Rainer Tenhunen

Here I am, sitting at a coffee shop, observing the world around me as the blank Evernote page on my computer screen stares back at me. My mind begins to wander… How cool would it be if I were writing a script right now instead of a journal entry? What if one day I was able to collaborate on a film? I could be a casting curator, contributing writer, AND head of the hair department. I want to be the first of my kind. I want to win an Oscar. But fantasizing all day isn’t productive. Productivity requires action.

I am a freelancer- a hair stylist to be specific - and as great and laid-back or luxurious as it may seem to those of you 9-to-5ers, it is actually a constant ebb and flow emotionally and financially. But a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor, right? Being a freelancer requires a proactive lifestyle. It requires intentionality, patience, and most importantly, acceptance. ‘Going with the flow’ presents a lot of challenges and can really amplify your appreciation and desire to work hard and as often as possible. It forces you to live in a state of frequent discomfort, aka the unknown.

I woke up this morning to my third day of no work. The job I had booked for the day was cancelled the evening before. After turning down other job opportunities for something that fell through, I couldn’t help but feel super defeated in having a day off. I had nothing to get up for. Nothing to attend to. No reason to get out of bed before 8am. So I asked myself, How do I navigate my day and source my inspiration when I’m not waking up to go to work?

Simple answer: I dream.

A fantasy is usually associated with a happy ending because it’s an ambition, a driving force, a motivator. The same motivator behind all the small choices I make today that are going to turn me into the woman I dream of being - the woman who wins an Oscar. Then I asked myself: what would that woman's, my future me's, day off look like? She has her coffee, and she writes. She exercises and eats well because she’s always in the public eye. She goes to a movie. At some point she reads. At least, that’s what I imagine she would do. And now all of a sudden, I have my day mapped out. My actions feel purposeful and intentional and I’ve accepted and embraced the time that I’ve been granted.

I don’t necessarily desire the things that I don’t have, but I am always dreaming of the days ahead of me and the limitless possibilities of what is yet to come. Don’t get me wrong, I am a proficient yogi at heart, ohm tattoo on my wrist and all, and an advocate for practicing presence and living life in the moment. However, it’s become quite apparent in my twenty-six years of life that my dreams are the tools that stitch together my day to day realities. Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. I think he was on to something. Imagining what your future could hold is the fairy tale of your life. “Make believe” has such a negative connotation, but I think they are two words compounded that we have a strong obligation to take action on: to make something of ourselves, and to believe in the infinite. Dreaming is a powerful tool.

Where I am now is a place I’ve always dreamed of being. My twenty-one year old self would be very impressed. And though my career doesn’t have stability in some ways, it reminds me to find the security I need in something greater than myself. Personally, it’s a constant reflection that my faith is what keeps me grounded in this pursuit of life with all of it’s uncertainties. So I guess my point is this - the next time you feel uneasy about the uncertainty of your future, believe in yourself enough to dream big, and do something today that your future self will thank you for.