Flights of Fancy
March 8th, 2012

I’ve been daydreaming lately.

My current daydream is about my dream house; specifically, building my dream house.  I’ve sketched floorplans and considered traffic flow.  I’ve envisioned the roofline, brick, and trim.  I’ve thought about color palettes and storage space.  I’ve been thinking it through in bits and pieces for the past month or so and I’ve pretty well got the whole thing mapped out in my head.  It’s not an enormous house, but it fits our needs precisely.  The figuring-out process has been fun.

As I was telling a friend about this the other day she was, I think, a bit surprised at how detailed all of this imagining has gotten.  She said to me, choosing her words quite carefully so as not to sound pejorative, “You’re sort of prone to flights of fancy, aren’t you?”  I thought about it and told her that I supposed she was right.  I’ve spent time dreaming out the details of more than one small business idea.  I’ve outlined ideas for books.  I’ve run mental simulations of what I would do if I ever won the lottery (which, as I understand it, would require actually playing the lottery – so I assume my chances here are pretty slim…).  I’ve envisioned a time when horses will be a part of my life again.  And now I’m mapping out – in surprising detail – my hopefully-someday-future house.

“Yes,” I said to my friend, “it’s a fantasy.  Hopefully not an unrealistic fantasy.  But it’s not anything we’re doing right now.  Nevertheless, it’s still fun to have a mental project.”

That’s how I think of it: as a mental project.  And I think that mental projects are good for a couple of reasons.  For starters, they are fun.  I’ve read one after another statistic that says making future plans is an effective way to boost your mood, improve your outlook, and increase your overall happiness.  Granted, most times I’ve read this statistic the implied nature of the future plans were more along the lines of making a date to see a movie with a girlfriend, but I contend that the benefits hold true for longer ranging and more abstract planning.  Further, big plans like these help us to identify our goals.  By exploring these flights of fancy we get to try on future versions of ourselves and our lives.  We get to think about what we would like to become.  And we are better positioned to recognize and take advantage of the right opportunities when they present themselves.  When such opportunities come along we know what we want to do with them.

Sure there are pitfalls to all of this daydreaming.  We have to be careful that we’re not so busy imagining some future incarnation of our lives that we forget to get out and live the lives we have today.  But as long as our fantasies don’t supplant our realities, I think our time spent dreaming is usually a good thing.

And with that, I need to decide if I prefer louvered or paneled shutters.

PS – Sorry this post is a day late.  SSP has decided that two overnight feedings are more fun than one.  So I’m a little tired lately.  I’m afraid this is going to be a two-post week.  I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully with a nap or two under my belt!

One Response to “Flights of Fancy”

  1. BigLittleWolf Says:

    Dreaming is always fun… and valuable. As for the dream house, sometimes, we even manage it. If you don’t dream it, you’ll never have it.