By Kate Kole
My mind has always aired on the side of imaginative. As a kid, my friend Andrea and I would spend our after-school hours writing plays. We’d climb through the woods behind my childhood home and make up stories that we were lost in the wilderness, needing to eat berries and build shelter in order to survive. Forget the fact that you could still see the back of my house as we marched our way through broken branches. As far as our fantasies were concerned, we may as well have been states away.
My daydreams are a bit more grounded now. They don’t typically require the same level of suspended reality that they did 20 years ago…except when I ask my husband if we can make a fort in our living room. They’re more like an expansion of everyday life. If I’m feeling lonely, I picture what it’d be like to live a block away from my family. And if I’m feeling cold, I envision a move back to a place with palm trees. If I’m worried about the future, I imagine all the worst ways life could go wrong. And if I’m feeling optimistic, I map out best case scenarios in my mind.
It’s as if I start to live around, outside, or above my actual existence. The life in front of me, the one that I can actually see and hear and taste and experience becomes a background image as I start curating some fantastical alter existence in my head. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes terrible, other times nostalgic, and at all times, make believe.
As I look towards 2018 and start thinking about all the resolutions I could make to satisfy the daydreamer in me, one simple word keeps popping into my mind instead: embrace.
I picture the sight of bare feet settling into soft dirt and flour covered hands rolling soft dough onto an empty counter top. I see home-cooked meals, stacks of unread novels, the faces and voices of the people I love, worn in yoga mats, cups of hot cocoa, card games, soft blankets on cozy couches, and walking trails just waiting for me to show up, tag in, and fully experience them.
Of course, I also see the bills that show up monthly, unfinished laundry in the wash, dishes waiting in the sink, and my dog hopping out of bed at midnight and then again at 3 a.m. to go outside in the 10-degree weather. I imagine the mundane, stressful, and imperfect moments that will inevitably weave their way through the more blissful and joyous ones. And that’s okay. Because that’s real, gritty, unfiltered reality. That’s my story. And I want to be here for it, soaking it in. All of it – the good times, and the difficult times, and the ones in between.
Not forcing or resisting, or rushing or refusing, but rather, welcoming. Inviting myself to tend to the life in front of me and greeting it with as much acceptance, grace, and gratitude as I have to offer. I still want to explore trails and rush home to write. It’s just that this time around, I don’t want to pretend to be somewhere else or to be someone else. I want my focus to be on this journey – the one in front of me and within me today.