The Balance of Dreaming and Living


Credits: Woodleywonderworks

During the past few weeks, I have found myself constantly daydreaming about all of the goals I wish to pursue in the future. I confess that I am one who prefers to drift away and picture the numerous possibilities, rather than actually savor the moments in life. Dreaming is something I support wholeheartedly, and I do believe that anything is possible if you give your best effort. However, this constant thinking ahead brought me a great deal of worry, for I had become obsessed with following a specific plan. As a result, this ended up distracting me from what was occurring right in front of my eyes: life.

After spending some time away from my usual bubble, I began to contemplate the link between dreaming and living. Once I finally realized that my constant daydreaming was obstructing my ability to enjoy the present, I decided that I would simply try to live in the moment.  

Now before jumping to conclusions, living in the moment does not mean ‘do what you want, whenever you want.’ I believe that the term actually encapsulates appreciating the moment you are found in, whether it is simply reading a book, spending time with your parents, or going for a jog. I see it as a way of being completely present and allowing yourself to enjoy every inch of that particular moment.

In his article on, Science Editor Ian Sampler explores how “living in the moment really does make people happier.” He explains, “psychologists at Harvard University collected information on the daily activities, thoughts and feelings of 2,250 volunteers to find out how often they were focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy. […] The team [concluded] that reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming tends to make people more miserable, even when they are thinking about something pleasant.”

According to doctoral student Matthew Killingsworth, who was the lead author of the study at Harvard, “human beings have this unique ability to focus on things that aren’t happening right now. That allows them to reflect on the past and learn from it; it allows them to anticipate and plan for the future; and it allows them to imagine things that might never occur. […] At the same time, it seems that human beings often use this ability in ways that are not productive and furthermore can be destructive to our happiness.” Indeed, having the ability to reflect, reminisce, and dream is a remarkable capacity we have, however we must be conscientious enough to moderate such things in order to face reality.

We shouldn’t keep thinking of the future 24/7. We should be able to enjoy the present as much as possible. There is nothing wrong with thinking ahead. On the contrary, it is important to have goals and aspirations, as long as they do not prevent you from being at peace in the present. It is all a matter of finding harmony, a balance between both dreaming and actually living. Give yourself the right to enjoy and live in the moment. Take one step at a time, capture the opportunities life hands you, and don’t stress too much about following a perfect plan. Dream big, but don’t let it keep you from enjoying the present. After all, you’ll never have this moment again.