Four Fantasies to Escape to When Life is Unfathomable

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If the dark days of January are getting you down, Daisy Hickey has a solution …

Guaranteed to appear in the monologues of your more positive peers, is LIVE IN THE MOMENT. Seize the day! Carpe diem! Wake up! Live in the now!

But lately, I am all like “sorry, I was a million miles away”, or “wow, my mind was racing just there, tell me again about your dog’s new trick?” or a less performative, “what?” Because to be honest, living in the moment is so in the past. When the days are made up of composing endless code, coursework, or cover letters from the stony stillness of your freezing kitchen, or panting and gasping through yet another Chloe Ting or Pamela Reif workout mere metres from the bed (to which you will happily give yourself to far too early tonight, once again), we all need a quick splash of non-reality. Slip into a sweet, sensible denial of what’s going on, sis. It really is what the doctor ordered. I think it used to be called escapism, but I prefer, 100 per cent, full-on, uncut delusion, with extra-whipped fantasy.

Winter is the time of year where we worship the hearth, where we reflect on what has past – the season of telling stories. Let’s try telling a few to ourselves. Because when our plans are put on pause, it’s time to stop following the dream and start living it. Save your sanity and switch the hell off. Here are four fantasies to amuse yourself with instead of grappling with our perceived reality.

1. Queen of the World Fantasy

I admit, as a sisterless woman whose sun sign is in all-about-me Leo, this is definitely my personal favourite. Close your eyes, take a breath, and picture all those who spite you as your subjects. The accoutrements to this daydream are endless – would you have a palace atop misty mountains, or a chateau on the sunny Côte d’Azur? I tend to go for both because, in a daydream, you don’t have to apply for planning permission. Think of the sprawling chambers for all your closest pals, the cabinet decisions you get to oversee in every nation, and most importantly, the nervous bowing and scraping that you as Queen of the World would be met with everywhere you go. Obviously, you’d wave such nonsense graciously and humbly away, but it would persist, as would the compliments on your ‘fits. Oh, for Queen of the World, only the best would do – custom everything, luxury this and that, Villanelle-level drip.

Imagine if, on a whim, you could kick lunatics from high political power and replace them with hard workers. You could generate fair pay for workers around the world, solve societal complexities caused by excess greed and power imbalances, get everybody’s act together on the climate change front. And while you contemplated these crucial issues, dictating your never-ending flow of ideas to your eager and handsome assistant, you would be brought fruit and chocolate by the chateau’s largest oceanside pool. Beats life, right?

2. Just Won a Formula 1 Race Fantasy

This is further outside the realm of reality for those of us who have yet to sit their test (ahem – it seems this queen likes a chauffeur) but that just makes it all the more fun. For me, the idea of sitting in a tangle of protected seatbelts with that big helmet on isn’t the appealing part. Nor, frankly, is the 50 or 60 loops of the racetrack. So we skip those bits and go straight to the final lap, where you inevitably and thrillingly pull ahead of the other racers! Maybe you spin about a bit without any accident. Maybe you do a victory lap backwards or something. The high! That speed! The typical speed of Formula 1 winning racers is a pace no reader has gone before (and if you have – maybe watch your penalty points) … Such a speed would send your adrenaline blasting. Plus, the party afterwards would be out of this world – and totally allowed, as in fantasy-land, no restrictions exist, and no loved one is in danger. Peeeewwwwwmmmm.

3. A Quiet Room That Smells of Freshly Printed Paper, High Up in a Turreted Castle

Okay, here’s one for the introverts. Even with a mask on, trotting off for a long walk nowadays, I still feel social fear. Please don’t stop and chat with me, my dearly loved … um …acquaintances! Now and then I just want to be left to my own devices. Those devices, in my head, are huge old leathery books containing fascinating tales. The pages turn by themselves. The wind is strong enough to whistle and bustle around the castle towers, but not strong enough to disturb a wonderful reading session. Music plays – preferably, my Discover Weekly, except from a disembodied yet surround-sound self-playing quartet in the stairwell below. Candles float by carrying warm glowing light. The air smells of paper, lightly of peat, and a little bit like chocolate. Every now and then, I stop on a well-worded line in my big book and gaze out at the navy sea from the window to my left. With a sigh of happiness, I turn my head to gaze at the equally beautiful view of the snowy mountains through the window on my right. Granted, I am not geographically wise enough to inform the daydream with the actual whereabouts of this castle, so just let that bit go. I mean, the candles are floating, for God’s sake.

4. Floating in the Dead Sea Fantasy

This one is supremely effective post-yoga, and therapist-approved. The time for sunkissed summer morning swims is sadly now in the past. Bless those of you tough enough to brave a wintry dip – but even you must miss the leisure of a slow swim and drying off without a shiver back in July. Nor can we contemplate – yet – a spontaneous trip to the real Dead Sea, given the you-know-what, so for now, let’s just picture it. Utter silence. Salty smells. Scratchy silt in the warm bath that holds you quite still and steady… aHHHHHhhhhhHHHHhhhhh. The sun above, gently warming you like a slow-cooked chicken. Oh also – in the fantasy, YES you’re in that Batoko swimsuit. Because why not. I am humble enough to admit that I like to enter into this particular state of mind whether I am in the bath or on dry land, so whatever works for you. If you don’t have a bath, then I recommend the beginner’s version of this fantasy – the “I Have a Bathtub Fantasy”.

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