Learning to Live: Waiting Room Fantasies

Okay people of the interwebs, let’s pretend we’ve got some free time to chill out, relax, and thoughtfully read this entire blog. Humor me and enter this conversation and I promise you won’t regret dedicating a little time to yourself and your soul because today we are talking about fantasies. I recently just finished listening to Rachel Hollis’ new book, “Girl, Wash Your Face” but if you follow me on Social Media you probably already know that – I am obsessed. She discusses this idea that she thinks Mindy Kaling coined, I couldn’t find whether she did or not but I promise I tried – the idea is called a “Cardio Fantasy.” Yes, it is sort of a “first world problem,” but you’re reading this blog, so come on, you’ve got plenty of those. Anyway, this fantasy entails the things we do during Cardio Exercise to distract our bodies from exhaustion. Rachel suggests using these fantasies in all aspects of our lives as motivation but also a distraction from our most stressful and disastrous moments. You know you’ve done it, at the gym, in traffic, behind the most mouthy human at the pharmacy, wherever it was – I bet you have engaged in this type of metacognitive mind-play.

So take a moment and really let your brain go off. Invision a cardio fantasy before I bore you with my realization and analysis of my very own. Pick a place, a moment, an encounter, or a circumstance and sus out the details in depth. How will it smell, taste, or dear Lord, look? What will you be wearing, what will lead up to it, and what could result from it? Have fun friends. It’s your fantasy after all. 

……………………………………………………………………………… Okay, so are we engulfed yet?

Is it a performance, even though you can’t sing, in front of a sold-out crowd, where you ride a Unicorn on stage and headbang with an angelic voice as your fans go insane?

Is it maybe a log cabin high in the Smoky Mountains where your meals are cooked for you, a fire is always lit, and there is an abundance of wildlife and lack of irritable people honking horns or rolling eyes? You have wool socks and an oversized flannel and feel a footstep away from catching the largest fish or seeing a rare bald eagle fly overhead?

Is it an introduction to your favorite celebrity, you know, probably the one from your elevator list? Are you lost on the concept of elevator list? Google it. Anyway – you encounter them in a hotel lobby, and their gaze meets yours, and next thing you know they’re so interested in something about you that you can honestly tell them is no big deal before they ask you on a date, and you continue your life with Brad-Matt-Channing-Clooney. Or maybe Angelina-Jennifer-Amy-Lopez.

You get the idea.

I like visuals, so does Rachel. So I was thinking before a lengthy meeting that I wasn’t looking forward to, sure I can imagine visuals that might depict this fantasy for me, but can I find one that already shows, my ideal day, my fantastical moment, a space I want to exist? So I started reminiscing over old photos on my cell phone ankles crossed in a waiting room. And I strolled upon this one. IMG_2335

Now you may laugh. You may be confused. Or you may think, Here We Go, what a Bleeding-Heart-Book-Reading-Nerd-Face. That last sentence may have proved my point. But are you ready to know what I fantasized? My mind-me, she owns this place on this cute little street, in a city, she invented that has all of her favorite people in the world. It lives on the corner of future and past, and all can gather there, no matter if they are dead, alive, feuding, or fading. She makes a little money by selling coffee and desserts and sandwiches, but the books are free. Everyone that enters becomes kind and centered and open. There’s comfortable lounging space for friends to gather, soft music always playing, and even people who don’t like to read they come to visit her because she is happy. She cooks when she wants, but the food is there if she doesn’t, and dogs are always welcome. I’ll stop before I enter full-fledged fantasy land where things get crazy. So what’s the deal, why am I discussing this at all? I realized something, remember?

While Rachel urges this as a distraction and I wholeheartedly agree, it’s been fun right? I also think they can mean much more than just a simple amusement. When you dive into these fantasies, the spaces where we most want to be when we don’t want to be “here” you learn about yourself. In learning about this fantasy you might feel you got to know a bit about me, but I also got to learn things too. Guess what’s not included in my fantasy? The huge house I sometimes convince myself I need. The Social Media followers that I think may make me a “real” writer. The bank account, or the business card, or even the bunches of clothing, makeup, material things, and matters that actually don’t matter.

Now maybe your fantasy has a Benz, a Babe, and a Boob Job. Go for it. But here’s what I ask you to do today. Imagine it. Examine it. And then think about what pieces you can make accurate and real in this very realistic cardio-filled world. I can tell you, and I bet I can put more emphasis on friends and family and less on work. I bet I can spend a bit more time reading and a lot less time watching TV or scrolling my news feed. I can get another dog (if Willow won’t fight me). Someday I can even buy a bookstore. But if I am not mindful, and get too stuck in the waiting room, that’s what I will actually spend my life doing. Waiting. 

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