Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Manifesting, daydreaming, creating a motivational mood board. Whatever you want to call it or however you choose to channel it, fantasying about the moment the hobby and passion becomes the career and money is entering into the bank seems to have become my new hobby. But is this helpful? Does it in fact close the mind to other possibilities, or is this honestly just a by-product of lockdown 3.0? A weird mirage of a future starved out of us through social isolation.
Today I read a piece by Vogue’s resident Dating Columnist Annie Lord entitled I’ve Found The Perfect Boyfriend – He Just Isn’t Real. The piece starts by setting the scene in the most sacred of locations, a relic of out, out nights of a time gone by, the chicken shop. What ensues is the moment we all hope for, when the friend we are causally seeing has the epiphany moment and recognises the shiny, flashy elephant in the room that in fact you are the love of their life. Annie crafts a narrative, unstifled by a two metre rule and not a piece of fabric from your old aunt Val’s floral curtain attached with the old elastic from your tween year ballet slippers in sight. To create a moment so vivid in the mind’s eye that even the most avid fan fiction readers would quake in their boots. But wait, it is not true. This seemingly perfect moment of a modern day romance is just the adult version of the purple, fluffy monster in the corner who was your imaginary best friend growing up. There is a such a void in life and with near to total isolation, currently the norm, a cathartic sense of sanity comes from imaging what could be. What then continues is Annie exploring the negatives and the positives of having such an arrangement within the mind and the very real danger associated with it, regarding what will happen once lockdown is open, when we enter that chicken shop, and we are faced with the real thing once again.
When reading her piece I felt it tap into something that must have been buried deep into the subconscious that maybe my deep visualisations of a dream job, was actually not the best idea. So, for this blog I have decided to go through Annie’s piece and apply her careful critical thinking of an imaginary boyfriend and plot the triumphs and tribulations of having an imaginary job.
Firstly, assess the scale of my delusion. Similarly, to Annie most of my day I find my mind drifting off to the dream job. I have recently crafted a new daytime routine, which interestingly adopts the structure of a day in the life of Al with the dream job. I make up different scenarios, what if I worked from home, will I have a commute, the office, the colleagues and the all-important reboot of my wardrobe and the new and improved work wardrobe. Which for reference will a carefully crafted and well put together capsule collection, of timeless staples, an infusion of vintage flare and almost certainly a floral midi (Jessica Diner inspired, of course). I almost cringe at the thought of confirming this, but the first promotion when I will be able to wistfully reminisce back, at the unemployed days and fondly remember this as a time of great personal self-discovery. The cocooning inside my chrysalis as I go through a process of metamorphosis from green eyed graduate, to a sophisticated employee and adult with responsibilities outside of making sure that by at least 15:00 I have moved myself from the bedroom to the sofa and that wearing pyjamas all day is not a strategic move to hasten up the time to get back to afore mentioned bed. As lockdown days for some inexplicable reason seem to be the most draining of them all.
Again, similarly to Annie I am aware of the limitations of my imaginary job and have visualised the anxiety of stepping through an unknown office doorway for the first time. Introducing myself and meeting new people once again.
Side note – I don’t know whether anyone else has thought about this, but the thought of seeing friends and having an IRL conversation seems daunting, without the safety net and now familiar setting of a zoom screen to hide behind and the ability to have a technical fault and click the leave meeting button. But what about the moment where our now small impenetrable bubbles, get infiltrated by an unknown human? I do not think I am ready for such a greeting.
However, on reflection the vision I have of my fantasy dream job is a mish-mash collage of experiences I’ve had. Elements of jobs of those who inspire me greatly. The exact right balance between strategy and creativity and the moment you will spin around on an office wheely chair to speak to your lunchtime time buddy and ask what time you want to go to Pret (I am never taking the ease of chair on wheels for granted again and potentially question why more of us choose not to have a wheeled chair in a domestic setting, just saying).
Annie notes the reason why as children we cling so tightly to our imaginary friends and as we get older we are able to let go. Loneliness and a feeling of a loss of control is at the core of the conundrum. Annie writes of a romantic void in her life and an urge to fill it. I too can feel the great vacuum of emptiness, which is left behind, due to the lack of employment a situation unquestionably challenging in normal times but compounded by the effects of the pandemic. Am I in fact protecting my brain by visualising myself going to work and keeping myself motivated in the meantime.
The next point to address is that of dreams, what do our dreams mean? At the moment I seem to have elements of a reoccurring dream, where the setting changes and also the people I am with. However, I end up driving a car that I am not in control of. When deciphering what this means, it suggests that “something is slipping from our hand. It could be a job, a situation or a relationship”. I found this interesting as maybe my own mind is informing me that the idea in my mind of what my future career will look like is not an accurate one.
What I can concur from the exploration of my dream and Annie’s journey with her imaginary boyfriend is that the reality of being confronted with this situation for real, is probably going to be nothing like envisaged. Rather taking inspiration from a range of sources and an open mind for the different possibilities, allows for both a healthy motivation but reduces the pressure of needing to find the perfect opportunity. Maybe the job will come through LinkedIn, Glass Door, The Dots, BoF Careers Page, Fashion Workie or Indeed, it is unclear to say at this stage. But one thing is clear, one day we will be sat back on wheely chair, surrounded by strangers who we spend more time with than our families and planning our days around Pret visits (yes plural, as I am sure there will be many).