SO… Considering our current political atmosphere, my internal struggle to maintain optimism is becoming more and more real. And in so doing, I find myself spending almost as much time figuring out why we Filipinos are known to be optimistic and what that means. My frequent mental meanderings take me to places mostly undiscovered and definitely surprising.
We like to dream. Actually, we like to fantasize. What would I do if I won the mega lotto? How would I spend my money? Who is the first person I would fill with envy? How big would my house be? What brand would be my most expensive handbag? Jewelry? Designer clothes? I would travel to where?… Fantasy.
It turns out, we like to dream about what we would do if… And it usually involves pricking someone else’s pride bubble. Revenge dreams. Relationship dreams (this one is big considering how many females were brokenhearted when Erwan Eussaff finally married Anne Curtis). Money dreams. Food dreams. The crazy part is how we float through our mundane lives spending so much energy on these dreams, sometimes letting them affect how we view our individual realities.
It is also puzzling how tightly we can hold on to these images, no matter how unrealistic or fantastical they may be. It is easy for us to visualize ourselves as obscenely rich, standing in front of our Mercedes Benz, with our twenty-bedroom mansion in the background, dressed in the latest Korean fashions, bejeweled and coiffed. Visualizing all these while standing at the corner waiting for the next available jeepney.
We don’t know how to turn these fantasies into goals. Bridging the gap between what is and the dream. Unless it’s the “win the lotto jackpot” method. Juan Tamad. Sitting under the coconut tree waiting for the nut to fall on us, hopefully not where it hurts. I sometimes wonder why we don’t know how. Which leads me to the next logical question.
If we are so good at fantasizing, why can’t we take a different route and become experts at possibilities? Yes, it’s true that everything is a possible. Even pigs flying. But I’m talking about possibilities. The steps that carry us forward to something better.
Why can’t we envision the possibility of making our farmers self-reliant and flourishing? Why can’t we think of the possibility of clean streets and unpolluted rivers and shores? When do we discuss the possibility of a well-run corruption-free government?
Impossible dreams are usually the selfish kind. They don’t involve much sharing of wealth, not much compassion for others, not much improving general life conditions of others. Why is that, I wonder? We never dream about what kind of an orphanage we could establish to take care of street kids, if only we could win the 100 million peso lotto tomorrow. It is not in our nature. It could be, but it’s not.
It is so easy to fantasize about how nice it would be when all these possibilities become reality. But first we need to distinguish whether what we envision are impossible dreams or well-thought-out possibilities. Going back to my last possibility above… it’s easy to fantasize about a government run by people with integrity, honesty, an all-encompassing sense of public service. But that’s the fantasy, the impossible dream. And it will stay an impossible dream until we learn to explore the possibilities of how we can attain this fantasy.
I can dream about walking down the cobbled streets of Paris in the wintertime, with a bag of warm croissants. But until I dwell on how I can possibly get there and what I need to do to turn this into reality, then this shall remain an impossible dream, as most dreams do. I gotta figure out how to tilt my windmills.
Even Sancho Panza had a plan.