My best friend and I have a pretty amazing ritual. When either of us are having a bad day or even if we just wake up feeling sentimental we immediately text each other with a made up scenario. “Today we are at a Parisian café sipping espresso after a long day of shopping for fabulous couture clothing.” None of which we could ever afford (at this point).
Or even something less elaborate, since we live in different states and not next door to each other like we wish. For example, my best friend had the heartache of sending her baby off to preschool today for the first time.
“Today I am walking over with a chick flick and we are going to laugh and cry into our Ben and Jerry’s all day long.”
Such a silly little thing for two women with husbands and mortgages and kids to do, but you wouldn’t believe how amazing it can feel to just imagine yourself somewhere else for just a moment. Plus your brain really doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy (I have no scientific data to back this up, but just go with me here).
Our lives are far from terrible and in fact we both tell each other how lucky we are in so many regards, but daydreaming doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unhappy. It just means you still have that same imagination you did when you were little. The funny thing is when you are little you play house, you pretend to cook in your little plastic kitchen. You go grocery shopping in your tiny plastic cart. You even raise your babies (if your older brother hasn’t hidden them or popped off their heads). And now that you have all these things you daydream of freedom, of naps, of not having any responsibility. Is that why they say the youth is wasted on the young? Perhaps an older generation is thinking the same thing about me right now.
Some people might say, “Well just do it. Don’t fantasize about it. Life’s too short.” Okay Mr. Moneybags that’s all well and good for some, but the reality of life is the cost/reward ratio. Sure I could burn through my savings account and live for a week in paradise and then what? Maybe for some that is worth it.
The truth of the matter is I do have responsibilities now. I don’t have the time or the money to jet off to a foreign country to party with strangers, but that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend. If anything this gives me ideas for my future, maybe in some way just by “putting it out there” I will attract it to myself. Or maybe not. Either way I much rather spend my time daydreaming than focusing on the monotony of responsibility.
Being grown up doesn’t mean losing our imaginations. It doesn’t mean we have to trade in fun for a 401k. We can still see the wonder in small stuff and we can still pretend that we are in another place or even another time (don’t think we haven’t pretended to be visiting Bath with Mr. Darcy). From what I can tell so far in life is that you get out what you put in. I work hard so I play hard. So why not spend five minutes and imagine yourself doing something amazing and maybe before you know it you’ll actually be doing it, worst case scenario you still come out on top.
"One man's daydreaming is another man's novel." Grey Livingston