Non-Toxic Living: Embrace daydreaming and do something pointless

It is somewhat inevitable, that for my penultimate newspaper column, I write about change, at least for part of it.

Times are changing, as they always have done, and as a society we have embraced technology like our lives depend on it. But I’m not sure we need quite as much technology as some people have.

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In many facets of life, I expect change and every year one of my resolutions is to be more flexible. There is a reason why it is a constant resolution, as I’m not very good at it!

Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

If we rely on our own limited understanding (assuming we know the answer) we aren’t allowing in the possibility of another way of doing things.

Imagination is a valuable skill. During Christmas we sat passing around logic and skill puzzles, doing our best to solve them.

My niece uses her imagination constantly; she has a vivid imagination and tells me wonderful stories as we go for walks. I asked her recently as she was very quietly eating her lunch, “What are you thinking about?”

She replied: “I’m just daydreaming.”

Her generation will be the one to save the world from rapacious plastic consumption, fossil fuel use and all manner of ills, but only if we let our children use their imagination so they can be creative and ingenious.

We must protect our children, and ourselves, from technology creep; that is our obsession with technology creeping into every aspect of our daily lives so much that we are constantly distracted, and don’t even know it.

In London, recently, I pulled a girl back from a crosswalk to ensure she wasn’t hit by a passing car. She was texting while walking and didn’t notice the car. She seemed in such a technology-daze she did not even look concerned!

I was evaluating (as I’m apt to do) where the space in my life went last year, those moments where I daydreamed. I discovered that social media mopped up many of those moments. A spare five minutes: *Insert a quick check of ..... *

Our brains need downtime. Just as a small child needs a rest in the middle of the day our brains need time to daydream.

While in Copenhagen my Danish friend and I were chatting, and she said I must read their Queen’s New Year speech.

The Danish Queen said: “I have a small suggestion to make: that we sometimes do something different from what we usually do.

Something beyond the practical tasks of everyday life. That we try and do something that is not necessary, something that there is no need for, something pointless! I think it is important to have experiences that appeal to our senses, something that inspires our imagination, that stimulates the mind, and that can enlarge our world. That is not so pointless after all!”

How right she is. There is more to life than simply ticking to-do lists and putting pressure on yourself.

Is 2018 the year when you realize you can’t do it all? Is it the year when you close doors and let the space in between give you a new direction? 

Only you can answer that.

For me, I must ask: “What next?” I may daydream occasionally, even do something pointless and see what materializes.  

Joanna is unsure what 2018 will hold, and she is OK with that.

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