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The lure of dreaming

Dreams are strange things. I find they’re like vaporous visions in my psyche these days, amidst the demands of modern life. And yet, at this stage of my life, their lure is undeniable.

There was a time when I use to dream vividly. Then the years crowd in.

I was having a conversation with my old man the other day. He’s now into his mid-60s. While most of the Western world considers the prospect of retirement, he talks about being “without a job”. I chuckle internally. Anyone who knows my father well would probably understand that the dreaded “R” word and him aren’t synonymous with each other. Instead of aiming at his latter years with aspirations of sitting on the stoep sipping single malt, my dad dreams of a new kind of way of doing D.I.Y. home improvements in people’s souls. That’s his work. And while he’s slightly weary from carrying an inordinate amount of pressure (external and internal) during Covid and lockdown, he talks to me over the phone, at the age of 65, about what exists in his imagination of a new kind of future in which he can add value to those around him and beyond.

The man is a [insert-your-own-expletive-here] legend. He’s dreaming.

Hugh Jackman was interviewed online in the midst of lockdown. James Corden asked him how he’s coping creatively. His answer was that he was listening to music and watching movies.

And then something which jumped up at me:

“I’m daydreaming a little more. And I think that creatively that is the thing that we don’t have much time for in our world these days. We don’t have a lot of daydreaming time.”

Hugh Jackman, The Late Late Show with James Corden

I love that sentiment, because it is sooooo counter-cultural. Who sits around day-dreaming these days? Those kind of people are chastised for lack of “productivity” in most of the Western world. For me though, I think some people’s best work is born in those stages.

The challenging question for me is this: how do we daydream in a modern fast-paced world?

An occupational hazard for me is that phrases and words spring to mind songs in the deeper parts of my psyche. As I was thinking about Hugh’s words, I recalled the song Daydream by Gangs of Ballet. Personally, I love their lyrics and the layers of interpretations they lend themselves to. But there’s one phrase I find myself repeating:

Oh, I’ll find you, where I left you
Oh, I’ll find you, ’cause I love you
Oh, I’ll find you, where I left you
Oh, I’ll find you, ’cause I miss you

Gangs of Ballet, Daydream
Photo: Imke Botha.

As I said upfront, the lure of dreams, both in the dead of night and the light of the day are heaving at my soul.

I’m exploring my imagination again. I’m finding new ways to dream again. In the car with my kids. In the traffic. In the chaos. I’m listening to my soul. Listening and looking for those things I used to dream about.

And I’ll find them.

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