I believe in daydreaming. I have been a committed daydreamer for as long as I can recall. I can remember middle school and being chastised for a far-away look that glazed my eyes which inevitably caught the attention of some tightly wound teacher. Was it my fault that the visions dancing in my head were far more compelling than the monotone chatter coming from the blackboard? I even tried sitting at the front of the classroom to self-correct for my tendency to distraction, but alas, those wonderfully diverting thoughts would overtake me in spite of the close contact with screeching chalk and the chafing sound of hosiery-clad thighs.
I still daydream. So how do I operationally define a quality daydream? It really begins with the daydreamer and three basic rules. Rule #1: one must have a rich interior life; this is more than just introspection; it’s an ease around compiling one’s experiences, likes, and dislikes into a variety of scenarios and stories marked by boundless creativity. Rule #2: one must not be inhibited. The beauty of the daydream is no one can critique it (unless you tell, of course) so think big. If superhuman powers are your thing, go with it. If accepting an Academy award for best actor is yours, then so be it. Rule #3: one should put safety first so when operating heavy machinery or using sharp objects, best to put the daydreaming aside. That’s it. It’s really the cheapest vacation one can ever take. I would go so far to say that no antidepressant on the market could replace the holistic effects of a good daydream.
I’ll share my favorite daydream with you. It involves my father’s mother, conversation, and coffee. My beloved grandmother died in 1989. During my formative years I spent many hours sitting with Granny in her kitchen having rousing discussions about life over a cup of her fabulous coffee. I remember our ponderings revolving around politics, sex, religion, and books. My grandmother was a nurse, a wife of nearly 50 years, a mother of eight, an avid reader, and the most thoughtfully intelligent person I have ever known. She liked Cremora in her coffee and no sugar, just the way I like my coffee now. In my daydream, I sit with her in her kitchen in South Carolina over a heavily Cremora-saturated cup of coffee and share a few laughs. I always start by complimenting her on finally wearing one of the 50 housecoats that Mom and I discovered after her death still wrapped in tissue paper with the tags still on. Every birthday, every Mother’s Day, and every Christmas, Granny would get some lovely pastel ensemble, proclaim it lovely, and tell us how she would save it for later.
I savor this daydream on my toughest days; it allows me to recount to her all of my successes, my victories, and my triumphs. And she is proud. And isn’t feeling good worth a few moments of mental wandering?
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