Dreaming my life away

Everyone fantasizes—but what happens when those daydreams end in real-life disappointment?

Although you may not be able to achieve perfection every time, our elder shares his tips for envisioning the possibilities. 


Dear EWC:

Hi! Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent a lot of time in my head fantasizing about things: relationships, friendships, upcoming events, and even things that cannot physically take place. I understand that this is a very common thing (especially among teenagers) and something every person does to an extent. 

However, I find myself fantasizing/daydreaming and in this false reality for the most part of my day. I often fantasize about upcoming events and when the event happens in real life, for the most part, I get extremely disappointed because it does not pan out the way I had planned it in my head. This happens with almost everything now and I live my daily life being extremely disappointed at everything. 

I understand that a very simple solution for this would be to simply stop daydreaming about these things. I have tried but I always end up in my false reality again. I think that’s because since I live my daily life being very disappointed I would rather stay in my false reality or at least quickly stop by there. This, however, results in an endless loop of me daydreaming in order to avoid disappointment, which is caused by the daydreaming. Now I’m stuck and I’m not sure what to do.


Salvador replies:

Take the daydreaming and the reality as a way to learn and improve yourself as a person and in whatever you do. If you daydream the end result of a plan you had, and the outcome is not what you expected, make it a habit of making a list of the things that did not happen as you expected, and see what you can do the next time to make it better.

There is nothing wrong with aiming for perfection. However, accept the reality that perfection is not achievable all the time with everything. Aiming for perfection results in excellence because you are aiming as high as you can. Daydreaming is like aiming for perfection. 

When I was in the Army, I attended a few management classes that covered a variety of situations and topics. I learned that very often, things do not come as we planned them. What to do? We planned alternative courses of actions by trying to foresee obstacles along the way. We learned to change course as things unfolded. For example, in many situations we did a risk analysis when we were planning for a mission. The risk analysis covers all the possible risks that we can see. After that, we list the possible solutions to prevent them, minimize them, or deal with them if they come-up.

You can use this approach on anything you plan to do. That means that you learn to adjust and become more resilient in the face of adversity. Life is not a clearly delineated path. Sometimes in life, we change our goals and plans because things did not result in the way we wanted. Are there disappointments along the way? There are! But, that is the time that reflects your mettle and how good you are at adjusting to the situation. If you focus on how bad it is, you can get stuck there, and you will live a life full of frustration.

Daydreaming is a form of escape from reality. Enjoy your daydreaming. Daydreaming is free of frustration. It is full of joy in life. So, don’t stop daydreaming. I’ll share something with you. I am almost 70 and I still daydream everyday! We never stop. So, it is not something only for teenagers. I even daydream I am a young 20 something year-old man and imagine playing a perfect game when I was playing soccer as a goaltender. It is not reality, but it makes me feel great.

So, it is up to you how you want to handle it: Is the glass half empty or half full?

I hope this reply helped you and that it all works out for you. Remember, don’t try to stop daydreaming because you cannot stop it. Enjoy it.



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