What is a dream? What is the difference between the dreams we follow and the dreams
we fall into? Is one just fantasy and the other reality or do they each walk that fine line in their
own way? Can we really use dreams to tell the future? The meaning of the word ‘dream’ changes
from context to context and person to person and that is what makes them so fascinating.
To some, a dream is what you work towards. It is the reality you consciously aspire to
achieve, be it big or small. You might dream of a big house and a dream job. Someone else may
dream of a life where getting out of bed seems less daunting and the motivation currently lacking
comes easily. Essentially, these dreams are slivers of hope and possible realities; they drive you
and provide comfort in darkness or uncertainty.
Contrastingly, you cannot always choose your dreams. These dreams wash over your mind
in moments of unconsciousness and are often forgotten the moment you open your eyes. In these
dreams it is not about reality or wants, it is about processing. The things weighing on your mind
transform into various images of pigs flying or being naked in front of an audience. You realize
the trip you were planning is causing you more worry than you thought because every time you
close your eyes you see a plane crash or a blank boarding pass. Unlike the previously mentioned
type of dream, no one can control these dreams and you rarely remember them. They simply wash
away with the feeling of sleepiness as you wake up and get your bearings.
Then, there are the daydreams. That strange mix of reality and fantasy provide an easy
escape from the world around us. The images you see while awake but not really present.
Daydreams originate from the imagination and cross a boundary that can seem so clear-cut. They
allow us to be aware of detaching from reality and provide a distraction from the world around us.
Arguably the best entertainment on a long road trip or during a boring class, daydreams are a
limitless source of entertainment, and best of all, they are free and yours to control.
Additionally, dreams are sometimes considered to be premonitions. Our subconscious
foreshadows the things to come that we should be aware of and maybe even wary of. From
books to websites, countless sources will help you analyze your dream and extract the deeper
meaning or future prospects. In this version of dreaming, we look for the concrete in the theoretical.
We bring what we have learned in the subconscious to the conscious and make sense of it as best
we can. In this case, it is reassuring to find things we recognize in a concept still shrouded in so
Overall, all these types of dreams overlap and share commonalities while simultaneously
being unique in their own way. A dream of the future is not the same as a dream in sleep, yet
neither is truly reality. Regardless of their similarities or differences, all forms of dreams are
universally experienced. From childhood to adulthood, the brain constantly creates images and
narratives that play like movies in the mind.
Dreams are specific to you and that is a part of what makes us individuals; the same life
experience could lead to different interpretations in different people. Dreams can lead you to love
waking hours and/or crave sleep even more. Vivid dreams may spark a longing for the darkness
that falls over a city, while night terrors trigger a desire for the sunlight that kisses the rooftops in
the morning. You have your own relationship with your mind, be it unconscious, conscious or the
hybrid state of both.
Finally, dreams are subject to change. As a child, you might dream of one day being a
doctor or even royalty. As you grow up, those dreams might remain the same or develop into
something new; “royalty” could become “actress” and “doctor” could become “researcher”.
Nightmares may evolve from monsters under the bed to the death of someone you love and
daydreams might go from your math teacher turning into a frog to your boss giving you a raise.
Regardless of what kind, dreams grow and change as we do and it is a thing of beauty. We are the
walking masterpieces of our minds; never truly finished but never incomplete either, we are forever
changing pieces of art.