I love daydreaming.
I love escaping reality and diving into my own world where anything imaginable is possible. I am easily lost in my thoughts, oblivious to the world around me. In favor of the ideas that swirl around in my mind, I chase after them, latching onto whatever thought comes up first and following it around as it evolves into the next one.
Even as a child, I grew up immersed in my imagination; asking questions about whether things I’d never seen were real or not. A literal and figurative flower child, I would often get distracted while playing defense in soccer—so much so that sometimes I would sit down in the middle of the field to start playing with daisies.
As an adult, I don’t get as distracted by my daydreams as I did when I was younger. Today, my daydreams mostly consist of meticulously planning things out the exact way I think they should be. Whether in my personal or professional life, I spend hours making up scenarios with the people, places, and things. Daydreaming is safe. What I’ve built in my head cannot be messed up by external factors, and I am in complete control.
I’m not sure how long I’ve been daydreaming about marrying my partner, but I’ve been planning his proposal in my head for months. I knew it was going to happen soon, maybe in the next three to six months. In my mind, I knew what it would look like, and I had meticulously planned out what he would say. It didn’t go according to my plan.
That being said, there wasn’t a second’s hesitation about saying “yes” at that moment. It wasn’t how I envisioned it, but it was a wonderful moment, one made even more special because it took me by surprise.
In the immediate aftermath, I had consumed myself with party planning and wedding ideas, obsessing over the operations of a wedding rather than meditating on the reality of marriage until the apparent profundity of the situation hit me all at once and all sorts of doubts and hesitations filled up my mind: “I just made one of the biggest decisions of my life. Is this the right one? What if this doesn’t work out? Am I capable of loving someone forever and being open to that type of love in return?”
Without thinking about it and without weighing the pros and cons, I’d been saying “yes” to a life with this man for a while now—in big and small ways. I said yes when we decided to travel the world together. And again when we moved to a new country. Likewise, every day I wake up next to him, I say yes. And he does the same.
That one audible “yes” didn’t magically change our relationship. We won’t begin to live happily ever after once I say “I do.” The commitment to cherish each other and love each other through the good and the bad, the ease and the hardship, the infatuation and the annoyance, and everything in between, isn’t made one time. It’s a decision that I made yesterday and today and one that I will make again tomorrow and every day for the rest of my life.
A lot of us fear that we are making the wrong decisions. Fear of failure is one of the reasons why we love to daydream so much, and self-doubt is at the root of most of our uncertainties. The hypothetical is a less difficult world to live in because if we don’t make a decision, we don’t have to deal with the consequences. That’s why decisions, big and small, are hard—whether it’s choosing a shampoo, holiday gift, or husband.
Yet, we make decisions every day. Some are deliberate; others are unconscious. Take the bus or drive to work? Go to the gym or take a yoga class? Cook dinner or order take out? While we occasionally decide something on a whim, most decisions are meticulously weighed according to responsibilities, priorities, preferences, and mood. Only after outlining the pros and cons, imagining the positive and negative consequences, and determining the best possible outcome, do we finalize decisions.
So when it comes to something as arbitrary as love, how do we know for sure that we made the right decision? The commitment to marry someone is no small order. It dictates the rest of our lives in a big way. But then again, every decision dictates our lives in some way—perhaps trivial, perhaps significant.
The problem with this one is that it can seem too big to digest. That this “yes” expressed is an end-all-be-all decision. However, in reality, the intention to marry—to marry someone who you love unconditionally and who loves you just the same—isn’t a one-time yes.
That’s the thing.
We don’t just decide one day that our lives will look a certain way. We make tiny choices every day to mold the life that we want to live, and daydreaming is the first manifestation of that. As we imagine scenarios and experiences for ourselves, we begin to build out our realities both deliberately and unconsciously.
More often than not, your reality won’t look the same as your daydream did, but that’s okay.
Author: Laura B. Childs
Image: Alex Iby/Unsplash
Apprentice editor: Sara McKee
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Nicole Cameron
Social editor: Emily Bartran