Anything? Anything!

What would you do if you could do anything?

Who were you really meant to be in the first place?

Who is the real you, the one you see in your mind’s eye?

Where would you live, what would your days be like?

These questions were brought to me by Amy and Véronique (Amy in one and Véronique in no less than two posts – and I believe it was a WordPress prompt at some point, too.)

I’ve been idly pondering these things since December. Not all the time, obviously (!!!), but whenever I get the chance to let my imagination run loose for a bit.

It’s like walking your dog – I say to my imagination, “Okay, we have 15 minutes – go! Run! Enjoy the freedom!” And then it’s back to chores/work/sleep. I tie the leash on my thoughts again. Until next time.

Of course, I already had the answers to all these questions ready in my mind. Waiting for someone, if not myself, to access them. To ask for them. Which is what made these particular questions so deliciously intriguing.

Don’t we all have visions of ourselves, life plans, and goals? Happy moments where everything seemed just right, moments we want to keep repeating forever?

Even though I’m very happy with my life right now and I have always carved everything into exactly the shape I’ve wanted it to be, taking control of the ship and not letting it go adrift, I still haven’t achieved my ultimate nirvana. And it occurs to me that maybe it’ll always be like that, maybe we are designed to always strive for more.

My mind flies back to when I was a teenager. I’d cut out some colorful pictures from different magazines and taped them on a part of my bookshelf. Some of them were travel-related, and some were just shots of beautiful people in beautiful places. Palm trees and turquoise swimming pools. Cool sunglasses and edgy eye makeup. Some of the pictures looked like utterly magical moments and they made my heart dream, inspired by what could be. They seemed so faraway – and they were.

There was one particular picture of a group of little boys playing on a beach and it always looked like Brazil to me, though I’ve never been there. The sunlight sparkled from the foamy waves behind them and the tanned boys were laughing while playing a ball game. For them, it was an ordinary day. Football on the beach. For me, it was someplace I wanted to be, a moment I wanted to obtain somehow, in some form. Get it for myself and keep it, always. Belong in it.

It felt familiar, yet it wasn’t a moment I’d lived yet, not exactly.

For a long time, if you’d asked me who my “true self” was, the very shiniest version of myself where I was who I always wanted to be, who I always saw myself as, I would say it was me in 2010.

2010 was a busy but happy year. One of the things that happened that year was that I realized my childhood dream of visiting Hawaii, and the islands didn’t disappoint. In my Hawaii photos, I see a happy version of myself, at ease with where her life was, content and fulfilled. Someone who was enjoying what she was doing. There was that sense of belonging (no football on the beach – but possibly a frisbee).

I instantly felt at home in Hawaii. It reminded me of my childhood home, Australia, in so many ways. Names of places in the indigenous language. Flip flops and tropical fruit. Casual surf wear brands and easygoing people who said hello when you passed by.

One evening in Oahu, I saw a man watering his garden plants in flip flops and shorts, ever so casually. He might’ve been humming a tune, thinking about work, or perhaps he was keeping tabs on a commercial break on TV before returning back inside. Whatever was going through his mind, he looked peaceful and that little scene brought me a feeling of how this is his everyday life. 

Another day over there, I saw a young woman walk her dog in very short green shorts, looking casually cool, probably without even knowing it. She had a beachy look, and you know I love that kind of look. I dress casually but I’m still very selective, too. When I later saw similar shorts in a store, I just had to buy them for myself. I’d never worn anything that short, but I felt like they were mine. I’m sure you’ve known that feeling, too, when you’ve seen something in a store that’s yours.

Another happy year was 2002. I fell in love with Montpellier, in southern France, and I experienced an impossible amount of new things in a short period of time.

Which brings me to the question at hand: Who was I meant to be?

I was meant to be surfing, swimming, and enjoying the sun, somewhere warm with blue skies. Enjoying relaxed sunset dinners on my patio facing the sea, with a warm breeze in my salty, tangled hair, my sons’ happy shrieks in my ears as they run around the house and the beach.

In the mornings I’d do yoga outside and then go for a swim in the ocean. During the daytime, I’d run a business of my own – maybe a café not too far from my home, or maybe I’d be writing a book on my laptop. Stress wouldn’t be a part of my life or my demeanor.

We’d have a beautiful garden and I would have learned a bit of gardening by then. We’d also have a swimming pool for laps when the waves would be too rough at the beach – wait, let’s make it an infinity pool! I’d whip up a green smoothie for myself and spend most days outdoors, in my own backyard. My boys would have plenty of friends at school and some hobbies they were interested in. We’d be friendly with our neighbors and often have dinner parties outdoors at night.

It would be a land where people were nice to each other and no one went home after work to just watch TV because the beautiful outdoors would be too tempting to miss. People would be rollerblading, drinking extravagant milkshakes as tall as a Lego building with fresh berries on top, and watching films on picnic blankets at outdoors cinemas. There’d be street carnivals with lots of dancing and good food – regularly.

It’s safe to say I’m a daydreamer! And that’s okay. I think that must be a personality type. I may sound melancholic but really, I’m not. Let me explain…

When I was a teenager, with those images taped to my bookshelf, I had a list of goals (this was before anyone said bucket list, not one of my favorite words). My list went like this:

  • Do a language course abroad: maybe Spanish
  • Do a student exchange program, maybe South of France
  • Do an internship abroad, maybe Paris
  • Work abroad, somewhere Mediterranean
  • Travel a lot, to places like the Maldives
  • Settle down and have beautiful kids

And you know what? I’ve realized every single item on that list. What more could I ask for?

I just thought of something. Another point of view. What if the woman I see in my mind’s eye actually isn’t me?

What if it was someone down the line… a future daughter or granddaughter of one of my boys who are now just toddlers. A great-granddaughter. Maybe what I’m seeing is the life of someone carrying a tiny slice of my genes decades from now, even a hundred years from now.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Because that’s how daydreams go. The truest version of myself is a dreamer.

The photo is from Iguazú Falls, 2014

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49 responses to “Anything? Anything!

  1. This is a wonderful piece wich I read with great joy. I think the book you were mentioning should be written. The topic is making me think as well. I’m somewhat older then you are (I am 183 to be precise), so my answer would probably differ, let alone I the fact that I am of course a different person. I do think however that age may play a part in answering the questions. I have no answer(s) yet, but I might try to find one, if I have say 15 minutes left once in a while 🙂 Although I think THE answer will never be found.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hahah, your comment made me chuckle more than once! 😊 May I say you are quite youthful for 183?!
      You’re right though, age does play a role in our dreams and I realise I need to update my list of goals. A long time has passed since. Nowadays, my hopes and dreams are centered around my boys and their futures.
      Happy to hear it got you thinking!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. “It would be a land where people were nice to each other and no one went home after work to just watch TV every night because the beautiful outdoors would be too tempting to miss.”….
    My hi-tech watched reminded me 4 times today to move my butt away from the tv because I was sooooo far from the 10.000 steps I’m supposed to take daily. 1.530 steps later, I’m in bed, planning to watch some more tv.
    I want to move away to Summer Land, and you can expect me in your neighborhood soon Ms Daydreamer.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh, what a beautiful post, you imagination walker! 🙂 This is such a great allegory. I walk the dog, you walk your mind.

    But can you see? YOU STOPPED YOUR LIST SHORT! You did everything that was on it, you have beautiful children, and now? Quickly, continue the list!! Just as seriously as you did it then.

    I can just picture you, taping photos on the wall that appeal to you. We have now blogs instead of the wall, don’t we? I used to write stuff on post-its and put them on my fridge door but since I started to blog, I haven’t written a single one.

    Do you know what I had on my wall back then? I had sheep on green meadows, just like the ones that I can see now around here, with plenty of young because the Easter is coming.

    I had Christo’s curtain that he hung across a Colorado valley, I believe. An actual curtain over the entire valley. Picture this.

    I had the winning design for the basketball and concert hall that was to be built in my city, in the shape of a shell. It’s been built by now and I haven’t been inside it yet.

    I don’t wish to flood this section with my own memories but you surely spurred them on. Only the best. 😉

    It’s so great how you think into the future in search of descendants that may continue your path. We never really know, do we. Except if you don’t have any kids, then the options are a bit limited. 😀

    Your story certainly proves that we work progressively towards our desires. Time for part two. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughts, dear MM! 😊 I noticed the same thing about my list but you know what? I really have no other desires than for my boys to have a good life, health for us all, and then that beach house dream. Maybe creative work, too, but that doesn’t seem very likely to happen – I have bills to pay! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful, Snow. Great questions. And I love all your answers. Like Peter, I’m a bit older than you are (not quite 183), so I’m thinking ‘in my next life,’ maybe. Though there are a couple things that leap from my heart like living in the high desert of New Mexico in a sweet, 500 sq ft casita with a sleeping loft to the stars and a covered patio where I’d paint oil landscapes and write, watch the sky change and storms rolling in, and take daily walks through the sage and pines toward the red rock hills like Georgia O’Keeffe did. I could still do that. I could make it happen. As long as I could walk to town, grocery, library (and check out your book), post office, and be connected to the internet so I’d never miss your posts. x 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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  6. I loved reading this! I enjoyed your trip down memory lane – You took me along and I recalled some of my own daydreams/goals right along with you. And you surprised me with the ending! What an interesting thought that you may be seeing these things come true in future generations. Quite romantic! And nice. And I think probably true. I think we do have a great influence on the people we love – I’m sure your loved ones are inspired by your desires in ways you may not even know. Very Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love all of this!!! And being a dreamer is amazing! It means that our minds get to have so much fun 😉 I think it’s awesome that you realized all those dreams on that list! Hawaii is so high on my list of places to visit, but I’m pretty sure I’d take anywhere tropical! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love tropical places, but Hawaii had a very special vibe to me. I’m not sure if Americans would experience it diffferently, as more of a ”domestic” holiday destination, but from a European’s point of view it was very Polynesian 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an interesting topic, Snow. Are our daydreams useful diversions that increase our happiness, motivate us into action, or make us feel like we missed out or failed. In your case, a daydream can never be a failure, because you have realized so many of your dreams already. And I have no doubt that you will realize many more in your life, because you have the right attitude. For some years I sailed along without goals, and then woke up thinking life was passing me by as I was without a rudder, letting life dictate how I lived out my years. That was enough to spur me into action, and setting goals and then implementing them made such a difference. But would my life have been any different if I chose to live it over. Hell, yes! I can see many opportunities I missed or messed up in. But then maybe all those missed opportunities were for a reason, and I was to learn a lesson in them. Then there is the genetic component, and how often I find I am drawn to someone or something meaningful to my heritage or ancestors. I believe they even have a name for it now, genetic memory. So that might be akin to your daydreams?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The concept of genetic memory is very interesting. It must have something to do with evolution, too: kids born today are adaptable to the lifestyle we now live. Another, vaguely related thing that I find fascinating is how they taught us at school that during the years following the world wars, more boys were born than girls, to compensate for the loss of male soldiers.
      In my case, I would argue that childhood experiences were an important factor for the formation of my identity. Those ideas were probably unknown to most people in the 80’s but nowadays you can find a lot about it online.
      Thanks Amanda for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

      • That is so interesting. I did not know about the increased birth of boys after the war. This inbuilt subconscious mechanism of humans wanting to replace those that were lost is amazing. Now there is talk of more female births than males due to mobile phonefrequencues/radiation. It may be true.My father worked for TV and radio and said it was common knowledge in the industry that if you wanted a girl baby, you would offer to go and work at the transmitter for a few months before trying to conceive! It always worked.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A very captivating post! The way you daydream and reflect on your dreaming make me think you’re quite the optimist 😉
    I don’t really consider myself to be much of a beach person, but I’ve been intrigued by what I’ve seen/heard about Hawaii’s volcanos and forests. It does sound like a beautiful part of the planet to visit!

    Also, I never knew you grew up in Australia! Greetings from Brissie 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, I didn’t realize that’s where you were writing from! I lived in Brissie in the 80’s, moved to Finland when I was nine. Never quite fit in over here and went on to work in the travel industry as a way of escaping the greyness 😁 Spent some years in France and other places. But now that I have kids, I’m seeing things from a different perspective and everything looks brighter – even when it’s grey!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Your post was so thought-provoking that I couldn’t even respond to it right away. I’m not even sure I can now. The problem with listing what I would choose to have or be if I could have anything is that it makes it seem that I am dissatisfied with what I have. I’m pleased with many (most) things in my life, but I am not the person I pictured I would be when I was a kid or young adult. I like your idea of another point of view because it makes me feel less like something is missing; maybe it’ll turn up in a future generation or maybe even much, much later in my own life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lexi! I feel the same way, which is why it took me 3 months to edit my thoughts and this post! It sounds like I’m dissatisfied but I’m not. Like Peter commented, goals and self-visions are probably related to phases of life and age. But then I’ve always been that beach girl, that has never changed… you can take the girl away from the beach but you can’t take the beach from the girl!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Gosh I love your writing, Snow! ❤ I made a warm cup of tea (at work!!) just to read your blog post 🙂 I love the way it ended, and I am so happy for you that you realized all of your goals! Dreams and goals are different after all. And I am such a daydreamer too! Vivid imagination running on my mind about your dream life as I was reading your words. What a beautiful life that'd be! The outdoors, the beach, the sunset, the community spirit, just perfect. But then again, if we did actually have that maybe we'd underestimate it? I think people living in Australia or southern Europe do have a similar life like you describe, but like you said humans will always strive for more! When I was a teenager my fantasy was to live on an island, go on a swim everyday, and just enjoy the everyday sunshine. I actually went on an island for few days in the Philippines, an island that was cut off from everything, no wifi or restaurants or shops, nothing was there but the ocean and the blue sky and palms, but you know what, I was so bored and restless after two days! 😀 So I guess the real me loves big cities, lights, restaurants, lots of people around- with frequent escapes to the wild nature. It's hard to know because I am such a daydreamer myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy to hear you would settle down with a cup of tea to read my blog post 💕 You’re a great blogging friend, Pooja! And I enjoy your blog very much, too!
      And yes, you pinpointed it exactly, in a way that wasn’t even clear to me before I read your comment: goals and dreams are different! Yes, they are! A goal can be based on a dream but it’s a more realistic version of it with compromises made. Prioritizing and focusing help, too.
      As for warm weather, I’ve had that for 12 years or more and I know I don’t get bored of it. Sometimes realised dreams do disappoint though: like when I was living in France, the local ways of doing things staryed to feel too difficult at some point and it became a love/hate thing. 😊
      Let’s keep on dreaming! 🌷

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to dream awake a lot but Met too many dream killers who clearly did their jobs well. I have traveled a bit but probably my best times were walking the dog ( to borrow your analogy.) Simple woman. Simple tastes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I thought I might come up with something profound in response to your post, but that’s really not me, which I guess is a response in a way. I consider myself something of a dreamer, but I find myself less satisfied if I get too caught up in dreams. My happiest times have been doing things, and in doing things, new opportunities have opened up. Basically, I think this is such an individual thing. One person’s genetics might be the biggest influence. Another’s might be there societal situation. Another’s might be something else. I do believe that every single thing we do influences our direction in life. Some of those things might seem big at the time and others insignificant, but they have their influence. To me the main thing is to try and be happy in whatever one is doing, whether it’s what we thought we’d be or not. It’s who we area t that moment after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, one things leads to another and you never know. Some things can’t be planned. If I hadn’t spontaneously decided to come back to Finland when I did (from France, where I was living semi-permanently), I never would’ve met Hubby and we wouldn’t have had the two awesome little boys that nring me joy each day. Everything is very random – or is it meant to happen? (in a non-religious way)

      Liked by 1 person

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