I think of myself as an imaginative day-dreamer; not the kind of person who wastes or whiles away her day with her head in the clouds, but the kind of person who manages to get all of her daily work and chores done but with her head somewhere else much of the time, and yes, often in the clouds. I would go as far as to write that for all of my life I have been a dreamer; always thinking about things that are not, that likely never would be, or couldn’t be, and forever creating scenarios, and even dialogue of situations, that are nothing but thoughts, and not at all part of what is. On NPR the other morning, I heard the term, I.R.L., In Real Life, during an interview with one of the world’s greatest computer hackers. He said it’s a term common to gamers or programmers and they use it, IRL, to briefly identify the difference between what is imaginary and what isn’t. As a woman who is currently using a photo-shopped profile picture on social media from an app that’s to see what “you will look like as a Hollywood star,” it should not be a surprise to learn that the fake world of my brain, as opposed to reality, is not an unpleasant place for me, rather, it’s really quite comfortable for me to be there for extended lengths of time…
In the imaginary world of my head, the man I love, regardless of brand, size of tube, or fullness of said tube, squeezes toothpaste from the bottom only, every single time. I.R.L. he squeezes right in the middle, no matter the time of day or type of tube, and it really frustrates me, but that is the real life.
In the imaginary world of my head, when I’m driving my new Camaro, blasting music from the Hair Nation channel and singing my heart out, I’m as hot as that blonde in those cut off Levi’s shorts in the She’s My Cherry Pie video, and could, if I so desired, drape myself all over the hood of that car like Tawny Kitaen from Here I Go Again. I.R.L. anybody who looks in the yet to be tinted windows, can see very clearly it’s not some young, big-haired, blue eye-linered 80’s hottie, and it frustrates me that I now occupy this middle-aged vessel, but that is the real life.
In the imaginary world of my head, when I am in squat at yoga, I elegantly wrap my left arm behind my back, and then my right arm around the outside of my right knee to join my hands, and I slowly and carefully get my right knee into the crook of my right elbow while my left hand is still wrapped around myself, and with the strength of my left leg, begin to stand, and then straighten up into the bird of paradise pose, or Svarga Dvijasana. I.R.L. I squat, over the floor and with my knees as wide as they will go with my hands at my heart, possessing neither the skills nor the strength to move like my teacher demonstrates, and it frustrates me, but that is the real life.
In the imaginary world of my head, the man I love, regardless of the time of night, gets into bed beside me and reads, and turns off his night table lamp when I do, and the room is silent and dark as we fall asleep, and stay asleep until morning. I.R.L. he likes the tv on and tosses and turns and kicks, as he loathes my tightly made perfect hospital cornered linens, and his inability to be still wakes me up, and then I become devastatingly aware that my skin is hot like lava, and I too begin to toss and turn, he often simply gives up to sleeplessness and goes to the sofa, and then I lie there overheated and frustrated that the sheets are now messy, but that is the real life.
In the imaginary world of my head, I put the required time and attention into my friendships and let people know how much they mean to me by picking up the phone when I think of them, and making time for them, and having regular dinner parties and gatherings. I.R.L. I put so little effort into my interactions and feel bad about myself every time I think fondly of somebody, or have a joyful or funny memory about fun time spent together, and it makes me feel frustrated that I am so lazy in the arena of maintaining friendships, but that is the real life.
In the imaginary world of my head, these two gorgeous granddaughters of mine will get through their teenage years and grow into women without suffering excruciating boyfriend sadness, or heart breaks, or having their feelings stomped on. I.R.L. they will likely experience the same teary upsets that their mother did, and I did, because the sob stories of our youth are what make us so much more grateful for the relationships we later build and cultivate in our adulthood, and I know I will feel frustrated when I can’t soothe their distress, but that is the real life.
Life is sometimes messy, often super messy, inexplicably cruel and total crap, and things don’t go as we wish, and for some life goes wonky far more often than it goes well, and that too seems grossly unfair. THAT is real life. Work, relationships, friendships, the “stuff” that makes up our lives simply sometimes stinks, and difficulties frequently amplify before they diminish. I am learning, the older I get, that frustration with real life is pretty much pointless, and that nothing lasts for too long to not be able to handle it.
In the imaginary world of my head, I am surrounded by love, even when I don’t feel lovable or very loving. I.R.L. I am surrounded by love, even when I don’t feel lovable or very loving. When I take the moments to reflect and reboot when I need to, it’s almost laughable how much wonderfulness the universe has dropped into my lap, year after year there are far more good times and good experiences than there are bad. Life is as beautiful as we make it, and we can daydream all we want about what it ought to be, or could be, or we can accept all that is in real life and make the best of each and every moment. Despite my frequent frustrations, it is a wonderful life, and I bet yours is too, you just have to sometimes take your head out of the clouds to see clearly…