“Stop daydreaming, Veronika!”
“Stop staring out the window!”
“Get your head out of the clouds, Veronika.”
These were the words I heard from my school teachers as I was growing up. The overriding message was: don’t daydream. Although I hated school, I wasn’t stupid. My report cards told a mixed story: English, Drama, Music, Swedish, Catering, A.
Maths, Science, E. I simply wasn’t interested in Maths and Science, but it would be wrong to suggest I wasn’t bright. Perhaps when my biology teacher caught me drawing love hearts, instead of cutting up a frog heart, she should have seen the signs: Veronika wants to be a romance novelist!
I’m now forty six years old, and have finally given myself permission to daydream. In fact, I have learnt that it is absolutely essential to who I am as a person, and latterly, I have come to understand that it is vital to the life I want to live.
Daydreaming puts us in bliss time. It is when our head and heart are in the clouds that we touch our true essence. So many of us fight against the clock. We’re busy, busy, busy, rushing from here to there. Even though I finished my job recently of editing a magazine for 12 years so I could focus on my own writing, I found myself feeling stressed that there weren’t enough hours in the day. I kept wondering how I managed before when I had bi-monthly deadlines. Time is a man-made construction, and the more I can step into ‘dream time’, the easier life feels, and, ironically, the more productive I am.
I’ve also had years of guilt around reading fiction ~ as if I was wittering away precious work time. To hell with that! The truth is I love reading. It is part of my life’s bliss. I have friends, like myself, who wouldn’t dream of sitting down in the daytime to read. What are we telling ourselves when we deny this pleasure? That we’re not worthy of enjoying ourselves? That it is frivolous to daydream? At first, I tried to justify reading novels in the daytime under that wonderful umbrella of research (well, why not, it always worked when I read non-fiction during the day), but now I don’t make excuses.
In my career as a novelist, I have no choice but to put my head in the clouds and daydream. (Not that it’s hard work dreaming up hot fictional men!) My job involves letting my mind wander and float. How could I possibly dream up my characters if I didn’t let my thoughts drift off into their own little world? Sometimes the dreaming comes easily, such as when I’m in the shower or walking in nature. I now make it a practice to allow these daydreams to take over from my night dreams as I come back to this world each morning. Science has come to prove that daydreaming is GOOD for us.
There have been many things I could have done better in my parenting journey, but I will always be grateful that I never once told my daughters to stop daydreaming. From these inner worlds they have tapped into a deep place to find words and music. At 18 (next week) and 16, they both feel their life’s calling from deep within. It is a place which they have nurtured because they had the freedom to daydream.
My elder daughter has just been offered a place in the School of Music at Bangor University, and has already composed a musical.
My younger daughter is a published novelist. She is currently writing her seventh novel. She would like to enter the world of book editing. They don’t have parents who have beaten them with a stick to succeed. Quite the opposite. What they HAVE had are parents who model ‘following your heart’. Their early childhood was based on child-led education, and was as free range as it is possible for education to be. They recently (last September) started school, and I’m so grateful for all the years they had to daydream.
No matter how old you are, and no matter what your job is, do let your head play in the clouds. It’s good for you!
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