I like to day dream. I always have. When I was a child that tendency manifested itself in a habit of staring off into space so intently that my parents sometimes had trouble catching my attention. I can’t say I remember those day dreams, (Does anybody actually remember their childhood daydreaming?) but I’m pretty sure my daydreams are very different now.
For example, sometimes I catch myself simply planning my afternoon when I ought to be paying attention in a lecture. So that’s just a part of growing up- keeping my head more firmly in reality. I don’t think so, because that can’t really be a daydream if it’s too serious. The word simply denotes a more idyllic quality. Really, what is adult day dreaming?
Perhaps as a still-young-fiction-writer I won’t ever truly have the same understanding of what a daydream is as an engineer because my daydreams also consist of characters and creating plots and devious schemes to build drama and suspense in those stories. For example, I produced the scene of a rather promising story over the course of one set during swim practice. It took one length of the pool to craft the setting (a graveyard if anyone’s wondering) and by the time I swim four hundred yards (it takes less than ten minutes) I had a complete story in my head. In this case the daydreaming served a purpose; it was a distraction from the sometimes boring activity of swimming in circles.
But daydreaming can be more active than a merciful distraction or a utilitarian form of musing; at times it takes over a person’s mind with longing. Daydreaming can also be an expression of hope. My most common daydream recently involves a place I want to be in just over a year. I want to study abroad in Strasbourg, France. I don’t bother looking over the booklet about it anymore because all the details are committed to memory and I play them over in my head, imagining myself walking on those otherworldly seeming streets. However, going to France is not a given for me. There’s a strong chance I’ll go, but I have to manage my time carefully here at my home university and I have to get accepted to the program. By daydreaming, I mentally transport myself there and bring myself just the tiniest slice of happiness. If a person can have a favorite form of daydreaming, then this is certainly my favorite. By daydreaming about hopes a person tricks him- or herself into believing that goal is just a little bit closer to being achieved.
Everybody daydreams about different topics, at different times, and in different ways. In fact, daydreams vary so widely, that I can’t help but wondering (is wondering daydreaming?) if daydreaming is a preoccupation that really can’t be explained.