Thursday, May 06, 2010

I don't dream, I sleep

I've daydreamed all my life -- probably an inordinate amount. Big dreams and fantasies about big things. When I was a kid, adventures, heroism, stardom -- the usual stuff. I was constantly weaving scenarios.

And it didn't stop when I stopped being a kid. It just changed a little. At a certain point you realize you're not going to be an NFL or rock star. So you dream of other things -- often equally outlandish things, made the more outlandish by the fact that you're supposed to be an adult.

You dream of ideal relationships, maybe. Fame, money -- those are still there.

A while back I stopped. I felt like it was unhealthy. I wondered if all those years spent inside my head, dreaming up a make-believe life, got in the way of pursuing a better real life. I don't know. What's the difference between setting a high goal and frittering away your energy on something unrealistic? Between harmless fantasy and unproductive distraction?

But I think I've missed it. Recently I began a little thing where I'm trying to control my dreams. Okay, "control." Or, let's say, "set the tone for." For a couple of years there I was waking up somewhat regularly in the middle of the night fretting about all sorts of worries, anxieties, fears and other things. That, fortunately, has stopped almost entirely. (It's probably no coincidence that it ended when an unhappy relationship ended.)

In any case, I'm working on positive thoughts before I fall asleep. Not quite daydreaming -- maybe "pre-dreaming." And so far I'm getting some decent results. Or at least I feel like I am, which amounts to the same thing. I've had a few curveballs. An ex has cropped up more than once. Lots of things unresolved, I suppose.

But I'm thinking now that a little bit of directed fantasy can be a positive, perhaps nourishing thing. Thinking about what can be, instead of just about what's missing or lacking. When done in moderation AND when coupled with some real-life action. I am sleeping better, and feeling better when I get up. And that can make a big difference in your day.

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