I have a daydreaming problem. I’ll admit that, when I’m on my own and I have nobody to talk to, I daydream. The quirky part of my daydreaming is that I need an object to inspire me.
As a child, this was a bad and weird habit. I’d never play with playsets like “normal” children do. Oh no, I’d take the horses out of a farm playset and take off into my own world with them. I’d take the wolf out of my brother’s Action Man playset and take off with that. I didn’t play with a playset as a whole, I would take one toy from the set and create my own imaginary landscape. The duck-shaped pencil sharpener that my Nan kept in her utility bowl was a firm favourite, and I can still remember the imaginary pond that it was swimming on. In my mind, an hourglass shaped pond with benches, a footpath and I was there again, feeding the ducks with my mother and grandmother and doing something I remembered that I love to do, but I digress.
As I grew, I maintained this child-like wonder. Particularly, I loved playing with water. Water could be so many things for me (soup, witch’s brew, some secret multi-component truth serum (I’d stolen the dog’s Metacam syringe to play with for that one – mother was not amused!). My child-like sense of wonder has always stayed with me and, even today, I still slip into my own world when I’m around water.
My capabiity to do this and my lack of confidence as a child had my mother concerned that I was autistic. Indeed, she wasn’t the only one and a few other professionals suggested it, too. However, my paediatrician was not convinced and so a formal diagnosis was never pursued. If I was, I was the one who slipped the net.
Today, you would never believe that I was once shy. I’m outgoing, bubbly, and never short of conversation or short people to talk to. I’m witty and cheeky and show no signs of autism at all. In fact, when I was screened for Asperger’s Syndrome, I scored 14 of the necessary 32 points for a diagnosis – I’m quirky, creative and I have anxiety, but I’m not autistic!
One cold winters day in my thirty-somethings, I observed this odd behaviour in myself and decided that it had to go. No more playfulness. No more creativity. No more imagination, All serious, real world stuff from here on out. If I wanted to not be odd, I’d do well to make me not be odd.
I lasted four days and I made myself incredibly depressed and and anxious while doing so.
Any time there was a chance to imagine or a chance to play, I’d deny myself, remove the stimuli and carry on. Until..
After a bottle of ramune, I was left with the small green plunger/opener on my table. Without thinking, I picked it up and started twiddling it between my fingers, and just like that, off I went.
Within seconds, it was a cool little green table in a tiny house. It could be a removeable steering wheel for a car, a removeable anti-theft start button for an electric engine, with three pins that prevented a start-up without it. it could also be a wheel cap, and then that got me thinking..
Say it was a wheelcap with four little legs that folded out from underneath.. suddenly it could become a stool.
Say it was a wheelcap-stool on a trailer, that meant 2-4 wheelcaps, 2-4 stools.
Awesome, but what would this trailer do?
That had me thinking about fold-down parts and what’s underneath. Let’s say the sides could be folded out to create two separate areas, that’s worktop space and a counter for serving. There could also be a fridge, a sink, a 2-ring cooker and some cupboards. Suddenly I was going somewhere. No longer was this bottle cap just a bottle cap, it had inspired a whole portable kitchen!
Sure.. I hadn’t achieved much in the way of the journal entry that I was supposed to be writing, but hell, maybe I’d come up with something worthy of Dragon’s Den? Perhaps I could put Gordon Ramsay’s Hell On Wheels rig to shame? I laughed – That’s impossible!
So you see, when you let your mind roam, when you stop thinking literally and start thinking creatively, the possibilities are endless. When you see possible in the everyday, there is no telling what you can come up with.
Plastic bottles have inspired me to think from plastic pollution to potential uses as life-saving rafts in flooded regions.
Washing up mugs has made me think of multi-level water purification systems in third-world countries.
When you let your mind go, there is no telling what you can come up with.
So I encourage you. Go, roam, explore the items around you. Let your mind see in ways you have never seen before, see your world through the eyes of a child and ponder in ways which you have not explored before. Then, when you are ready to come back to the adult world, come back here and tell me..
What did you discover today?