Dream vs. Do

When it comes to making the most mundane decisions I get quite the crippling case of Immobulus. But for some reason when I need to decide whether or not to splurge on a plane ticket to Seattle (yes!) or buy a one way ticket to New York (of course!) I make snap decisions like I just drank a whole bottle of Felix Felicis.

That being said, last Wednesday, I was all well and happy to attend the long looking forward to First Aid Kit concert at Webster Hall, only, days before the event I found out that Cristina Henriquez was reading at BookCourt near my neighborhood. I was suddenly cursed yet again with indecision and sat on my living room floor, sipping late afternoon coffee out of my favorite ER mug, manically g-chatting and texting friends on what to do with A Different World on Hulu playing in the background.

But then I remembered Shonda Rhimes’ Dartmouth commencement speech where she persuaded us (us as in the world, not a Dartmouth graduate) to “do” instead of “dream.” She said:

So, Lesson One, I guess is: Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just … do. So you think, “I wish I could travel.” Great. Sell your crappy car, buy a ticket to Bangkok, and go. Right now. I’m serious.

While I know she means for us (again, not a Dartmouth grad) to apply this truth to the overarching ideas of how we lead our lives, I was suddenly inspired by her words, at that moment, while Dwayne and Whitley bickered on my distant television screen. “Mia,” I said, “You want to do both don’t you? Then don’t dream about one or the other, just do!” And so, I leapt from my position on the floor, turned off various electronic devices, dumped my mug of coffee into the sink, threw on something decent, and ran out the door to catch the bus.

Because of my action to just “do” instead of “dream,” I had a pretty epic night. I met one of my new favorite authors Cristina Henriquez and she signed a copy of The Book of Unknown Americans. After a quick train ride I found myself at the entrance to Webster Hall just as Willy Mason finishing his set. First Aid Kit graced the stage right as I found the most amazing vantage point and I jammed out into the night and got home right at midnight.

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I hate to think that if I had just sat there, indulging in nostalgia, watching A Different World on Hulu that I wouldn’t know any better. Too, if I had picked one over the other, I knew I would have been disappointed in myself. But the fact that I at least tried to do both and then succeeded just proves that doing is way better than dreaming.

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