Daydreaming is a potent but cheap and fun form of self-care that I am reconnecting with. I used to be that dreamy kid who finished class assignments early and floated into some fantasy or the other until I was either called on or the bell rang. Sometimes I was a doctor triaging emergency room patients. Sometimes I was a samurai warrior fighting off enemies of some fictional empire. Sometimes I was a bird or a dolphin escaping to airy heights or watery depths. I was a pilot, soccer player and a belly dancer too, and every blue moon I belted out songs at live concerts, which was funniest of all because, in the non-daydreamy realm, hyenas have better pitch and voice control than I do.
Whether I was unknowingly practicing creative visualization, bored, or just giving my brain a break, it was restful and enjoyable, and I could always snap back to reality when necessary.
It was always there. Until it wasn’t. Last year I began to miss those journeys, so in spotty moments when I say no to doing, I am remembering that these little escape hatches made life better. Again, I allow myself to randomly plot my own shorts (no subtitles), mostly involving continents I have left to visit. I am strolling backwards through the sun-drenched lavender fields in Provence, France in a breezy turquoise dress brushing my hand against the Royal Velvet, thinking it has something on the ones in Washington, but not much. I am at a crowded outdoor market in Accra, Ghana haggling over fish and produce, wearing a contemporary headscarf and mud cloth jumper. I have dots of red sauce on my grinning face from a spicy street-food kebab and the electric music is everything, so I put my basket down and boldly let my hips snake around the beat the way a happy, free woman does. I am at the Festival of the Sun music bash in Port Macquarie, Australia with sliver of beach in the distance, a picnic supper, bottle of desert wine with notes of spun honey and saffron, hoping a kangaroo will hop-zip by before the nightfall.
I go further into the future too to my TBD retirement oasis where San Luis Obispo, CA meets Sedona, AZ meets Tobago, WI and there are no winters, scalding summers, hurricanes or tourist invasions. It is seventy-five degrees with an hour left before sunset and I am sitting by a Tuscan style fire pit with friends and the new neighbor with a dimpled chin and husky tenor who I waved over for jambalaya, storytelling and laughter.
In under five minutes you too can be in another place, relaxed and happy, momentarily checked out from the cares of the world. Remember this when you are stressed out, sad or need a different vantage point.
What can you daydream about today?