I am in love again. It’s only the fifth time in my life. It is with a person I don’t really know, I only know of. It’s not a celebrity (though no shame if you are — they’re probably someone who’s worked hard to achieve their dreams and entertain others) — he’s just someone I’ve talked to a little.
My sister doesn’t like it when the fantasy part of my personality runs away with me — she’s afraid I’ll get hurt. And true enough, I think I cried for two days (at least it felt that way) when the first guy I loved when I was 20 said he liked me as a friend.
But I am confused about how I feel about daydreams, fantasies, and the assorted imaginings that this guy I like will show up at my Best Buy one day, a beautiful smile upon his face.
Also, as a writer, imagining things is very important to me. The difference between two characters having a conversation (in my head) and me imagining me talking to this guy is indescribably small. And love, true indescribable love, is a big part of my storytelling —
“Did love exist? Love as Shepley saw it? Yes, he knew it did. He had experienced it, but he could not now remember if he had seen it in others in real life or only in dreams and novels.”
— A Caged Heart Still Beats
That’s probably the truest thing I’ve ever written that expresses my feelings on the subject.
But outside of books, I get the feeling that fantasies can be very harmful, and even become a substitute for working hard and going after your dreams. Take the lottery: is it harmless fun to buy a ticket and for a dollar envision what you would do, where you would go, and how exciting it would be? On the surface no, but I know people who have played for years then had to awaken to the reality that their real life wasn’t what they wanted, and it probably hadn’t been for a long time.
Also, I’m a big believer in action — the ability to make it so. So if a fantasy ignites your dreams and causes you to make goals and move forward, that’s great. And a lot of motivational leaders believe in the power of affirmations and envisioning yourself in the place, shape, job etc that you desire.
So dreams that become action = great. And everyday five-minute-fantasies, where you and a friend tease about what you’d do on your yacht or how you’d choose between Channing Tatum or Ryan Gosling are probably healthy ways to bond and joke in a fantasy context.
But — what about the gossamer dreams, the ones that seem real as life, the love stories that I believe in my heart of hearts could come true? My dreams about work and jobs I think can happen, if I work hard enough. But this lonely orphan of a dream about love, what to do with him? Will, in time, he just be buried out back, next to his four brothers?
I still fall in love because I still believe in happy endings. I need very little from my beloved, just them to continue rockin’ out the world with their awesomeness. For them to be kind and thoughtful and amazing and give me space and hold me close. I know these things are possible because I would offer these things.
So I’ll keep my fantasies, and keep falling in love. But I’ll also keep working to make my life even more exciting than my dreams —