Playing Pretend

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I’ve always had what some people might call an overactive imagination.

Okay, when I was five I had what some people might call an overactive imagination.

I think at 29 they call it OCD or paranoid delusions or something equally stable sounding.

Either way, I’m admitting to you all that I still, to this day, occasionally play make believe to cope with stressful situations.

Cause sometimes reality is not only less fun and entertaining than what I can come up with in my head, but there are also occasions where I can only motivate myself by pretending that what I’m doing is more important than it actually is.

Let me clarify.

When I was young, maybe 9 or 10 years old, I was still very afraid of the dark. I was terrified of some evil thing hiding in my closet or under my bed, despite the fact that I knew rationally that there was nothing there. So, I used to make believe that I was a chipmunk that was about to settle in for winter hibernation. I would lay on my side, curled up with the blanket over my face and close my eyes and just pretend that I was safe and warm in my little nest full of nuts and seeds and that there was snow outside of my tree and I could look out and see it, but I was still safe and warm.

And voila, nine times out of ten, I was asleep in minutes.

To this very day, when I’m feeling afraid of something irrational I try to distract myself by pretending I’m somewhere else or something else in order to calm down.

Likewise, if I find myself moderately stressed at work, I do the same thing.

For instance, if I’m alone making coffee at the kiosk while it’s very busy, rather than totally stress out I just pretend I’m doing something more interesting. Turning all the knobs and operating the steamers and making several hot drinks at once becomes operating a steam driven engine in a zeppelin. Dumping the bags of beans into the grinder becomes fueling a coal burning oven in a locomotive.

Because those things are interesting to think about.

It makes the job much more tolerable if I can pretend that I’m doing something important or interesting or useful, even if it’s only pretend.

So what do you all think?

Do any of you still play pretend? And if so, why do you do it?

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5 responses »

  1. It is well known and supported by research that when we have FUN, we learn things more easily; having FUN energizes us and calms us and gives us purpose; by using your AMAZING imagination, you are doing all of those things AND you are having FUN.

    I do it ALL the time to help me get through stressful or new situations…I visualize myself doing something fun that I can tie into my situation….when I went skydiving I visualized myself bouncing on a soft puffy bed, surrounded by soft pillows…OMG, skydiving was SOOOO much fun and the little visualization took the edge off the bit of nervousness….

    Imagination is a WONDERFUL thing…no matter your age!

  2. When you mentioned steam driven zeppelin I immediately pictured you in a cool steam punk outfit with goggles, a worn too belt filled with all kinds of pointy things and interesting gadgets, a headset with curvy brass scroll work and wearing a pale purple Victorian dress under a long brown leather vest/apron.

    That’s what you should wear to work tomorrow!

  3. imagining myself in a relax situation is what I try to envision to battle my fears….it’s part of self-hypnosis therapy I took. But I couldn’t do that in busy situations with lots of other people around me.

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