For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a daydreamer. I remember times in my parents’ basement when I was little playing with toys and my mind would all of a sudden wander to a different time and place. I learned from a young age to let my imagination take me away from reality. As I’ve grown older, I feel like having a bit of a wild, detailed imagination has helped me to become more creative, and has inspired me to try to do things in my life that many people told me I would never be able to do.
We’ve all heard stories about people who dared to take a chance when others told them they were crazy, and they ended up accomplishing something amazing. I have always been a fan of those people. Whenever I have heard stories like that, I have thought to myself, “If they can do it, then why can’t I?” I’ve never done things in my life the easy way. I’ve never done things the way other people wanted me to do them. That’s just not the kind of person I am. I like finding my own way to accomplish my goals and reach my dreams.
I very clearly remember my 3rd grade teacher telling my parents that I would never succeed in life unless I learned to focus on the task at hand. While sitting in class every day, I ignored math lessons and creative writing lessons, because I thought, “I’m never gonna use any of this in real life.” Oops!! haha While the teacher was teaching the class to multiply and divide, and to write short stories, I sat in my desk daydreaming about traveling around the world. I was daydreaming about meeting new people and experiencing new things. I would love to go back and talk with that teacher now, and show her how my life has turned out. I have always had a pretty good understanding of basic math, and I ended up discovering my love for writing when I started college. Learning to use my imagination at a young age, as much as my teacher felt I was wasting my time, ended up guiding me through the twists and turns of life.
With each passing year that I lived in North Dakota, I grew to hate winter more and more. The snow and extreme cold temperatures just weren’t for me. I spent countless nights sitting by myself in the dark on my parents’ driveway watching the stars at night and thinking of places I would have rather been. If you’ve read my previous posts about staring out the window of my 6th grade classroom at the cars on the interstate or “the end of the road”, you know that I have mentioned how important those times were for me as I started to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. These nights spent on the driveway were my way of continuing my regular daydreams as I grew older. I sat in silence and watched the stars nearly every night, and allowed my mind to drift away to thoughts of things that were currently happening in my life, the things I wanted to do in the future, and what else there might be in this world for me.
I am the kind of person who likes to talk about the things that are on my mind. When I don’t have anyone to talk to, I have always found daydreaming to be a useful alternative. Not only am I thinking about the things I would like to tell people, but I can picture those things while I’m thinking about them. Those thoughts seem more real when I can picture them. It’s almost like I’m having a conversation with myself and telling myself a story. The original title of this post was “Driveway Daydreams”, and then I changed it to “Driveway Daydreaming”. But, I changed it again, because I realized that it’s not really about a specific place. I have always been able to find different places where I have been able to go where I feel comfortable, and can let my mind wander. It keeps me from getting stressed out.
During the last few winters I spent in North Dakota, I started spending more time wishing I were somewhere else. I spent hours listening to Jimmy Buffett CD’s and looking at pictures of the beach. While the temperature outside was -40 degrees with a 30 mph wind and 5 feet of snow on the ground, I was inside the house taking a “mental vacation”. Between beach pictures and Jimmy Buffett songs, in my mind, I was on the beach in Florida or on an island somewhere in the Caribbean. I spent years dreaming of living in a warmer climate.
When I first visited Florida in December of 2008, I knew I had found the place where I belonged. At the end of a four day trip, I told myself, “Someday, I am going to live here.” Less than seven years later, that became a reality for me.
As human beings, I don’t think we ever totally settle for the things we currently have in our lives. We always want more. I now live where I want to live. I am working toward the life I want to live. But, I still find myself daydreaming of the things I want in my life. I have certain places I still go to when I want to unwind and let my mind wander for a while. A couple of these places are at Disney World. As busy and crowded as Disney World is, I have still managed to find certain places in the parks where I feel alone and can relax.
After years of daydreaming about escaping the cold and enjoying life on the beach, it’s hard to beat the feeling of being able to drive to the beach and just stare into the ocean and let my mind wander. Paradise for me is any place where I can see the ocean, hear the waves crashing into the shore, feel the warm breeze on my skin, and be surrounded by palm trees. I absolutely LOVE it!!
My life isn’t perfect, but I am a lot closer now to the life I’ve always wanted than I was just a little over two years ago. I am very much guilty of living in the moment a little too much at times. I am constantly working on getting myself to think about the future more often.
Daydreaming has inspired me to chase dreams that people told me I could never accomplish in a million years. It has inspired me to be myself and to focus on the things I want in life, not what others want me to do. It has helped me to clearly picture the life I want to live someday. It has inspired me to move away from the only life I had ever known and take a chance on a brand new life. It has been a struggle, but I am trying to find a way to make this new life work.
Because I took chances that others have told me were crazy, I have discovered who I really am as a person. I have discovered the REAL me. I have learned to love who I am. I have learned to not care if someone doesn’t like me or the way I do things.
I encourage all of you to daydream. Let your mind wander. Picture your personal idea of the perfect life. Take a chance and find a way to make that dream your reality. If you want something badly enough in life, you will find a way to make it work. The idea for your new reality has to start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to let “crazy” thoughts into your mind. Take time to daydream. The inspiration to live your dream could come when you least expect it.