On being grateful for our daydreams

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 11/28/21

Many of us have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season. At the same time, however, many of our friends and neighbors may also be dealing with grief, loss and uncertainty. Even as we expect …

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On being grateful for our daydreams

Posted

Many of us have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season. At the same time, however, many of our friends and neighbors may also be dealing with grief, loss and uncertainty.

Even as we expect to gather in giving thanks this week, with so much out of our control we may find that we’ve made plans just to cancel them.

Additionally, we might be anticipating the vagaries of upcoming holiday travel … which may or may not offer refundable fees or deposits.

And, if you’re like me, you’ve been ordering exponentially more goods for pick-up or delivery – from groceries to board games – with the accompanying disclaimers for delayed or even undetermined delivery.

Whether by choice or necessity, such outside uncertainties can make life feel exceptionally herky-jerky right now, like stutter-steps or even stumbling. Personally, I’m often overwhelmed.

So, a bit surprisingly for me, I find myself turning to a more interior life. I reminisce by scrolling around in the 11,368 digital images and 178 videos on my phone. I thumb through long-ago photos scattered in plastic boxes or relentlessly attached to those sticky-pages in photo albums of the 70s.

I gaze, wistfully, at inspirational books on my shelf – The Mindful Writer, The Writing Warrior, Writing Begins with the Breath and so on – while I dutifully contemplate actually doing any writing.

And I daydream, oh, how I daydream! I’m retired in Tucson with a swimming pool and a 195-yard drive off the tee box. I’m flitting off to Iceland for a long weekend on one of those spectacular mid-winter deals where you are practically paid to come visit. Or I’m leaving everything behind for a simpl(er) life in a coastal village in Mexico, welcoming along anyone who wants to join me.

My mind also, as yours might, entertains more altruistic aspirations: Traveling to work with Habitat for Humanity. Offering my willing hands at the scenes of natural disasters. Sponsoring a refugee family or raising a foster child. All of these options – and perhaps others – remain on the table for my future.

What are your own individual daydreams? How are they shaping your life?

At dinner last night, my sister told me her daydream is the absence of anxiety, which is often tangled up with COVID protocols that, as we all know, vary widely from occasion to occasion, venue to venue, and among the personal wishes of the various people who populate our lives.

My nephew – finally accelerating his doctoral studies after nearly two years of COVID-related delays – had an intriguing comment about how difficult it can be to focus on daydreams when there’s so much reality to deal with right now. He compared his own daydreaming to his vision board and, with his goals firmly identified, he’s already made many of his come true.

So, inspired by my nephew and others, I’m able to envision the roads ahead for my daydreams … a path, as he might say, out of the realities where we currently reside.

Perhaps this is one reason I’m so personally grateful for daydreams this Thanksgiving season.

Finally, to paraphrase Amy Winehouse (and others who have picked up the sentiment): “It’s not just a daydream if you decide to make it your life.”

Wishing you a fulfilling season of gratitude and daydreams.

Andrea Doray is a writer who would like to hear about your daydreams. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com with your thoughts.

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