When I was in college, I was always in search of ways to occupy my time. Whether it was getting involved in extracurricular activities on campus or surfing the internet after completing my homework for the day, I tended to look for anything that could stretch my attention just a little bit further.
Music and walks and texts to friends back home all helped, but sometimes, mere daydreaming was enough. Simply listening to music and letting my mind wander at will freed my brain from the words of textbooks and clacking of computer keys for even but a minute ushered in ideas, hopes, and dreams of what my future could look like beyond school, beyond the routine I’ve known since I was a child: get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, go to school, do homework, eat dinner, go to bed.
I very clearly remember the moment my daydreaming was taken to the next level. I was texting my best friend just before Christmas break during our first year of college, and she mentioned some social media platform called Pinterest. She walked me through how to set up an account, and suddenly, my eyes started twirling as they made their way through the page’s never-ending scroll, taking in each and every single beautifully shot image.
In an instant, I was hooked.
To this day, my best friend and I still turn to Pinterest every time we start daydreaming, and today was no different. As we chatted on and off throughout the day about what we were up to, what we had going o this week, we landed on one of our favorite topics: travel. Since we were children, we’ve dreamed of all the places we would go, all the places that were beyond our hometowns, our home states, our little microcosms that were all too familiar. Some day, we vowed, we wold travel together.
Here we are, all these years later, and we still have yet to take a vacation together. Of course, Covid-19 has certainly gotten in our way. But, just talking with her today of all the places we would love to see and destinations we are itching to visit brought a mental vacation in place of the physical vacation that we can’t yet achieve.
Once again, we turned to Pinterest to share our findings and to add to our respective travel boards whatever we happened to come up with. Today’s mental vacation took place in Ireland, where we mapped out how a seven-day trip could be possible at some point in our near futures. Just having this conversation and finding excitement and joy in the idea of exploring the world together — together with the person that, next to my family, has known me the longest — made me exhale, have me hope, and made me believe that yes, some day, we will not be stuck inside. We will not have to only take imaginary vacations. We will be able to move about freely without a virus keeping us contained to our own towns, cities, states, or countries.
That realization, that small little glimmer of hope, what just what I needed.
So what matters today is best friends that have been by your side so long that they have become family. What matters today is coming up for air in the middle of a busy day that falls in the middle of a busy week to indulge your inner dreamer, to let your mind drift from whatever task is before you. What matters today accepting the mental vacation in place of an actual one, yet still using it as motivation for the future, as the framework for potential plans.
What matters most today is remembering that, even though all life seems to have been at a standstill for months, life will go on. And when it does, it can be as beautiful as you dream it to be.