Fantasy Versus Reality: The Lies I Tell Myself

Though my intentions are always good, there exists a chasm between fantasy and reality that I can’t quite bridge when it comes to my typical day.  Perhaps I should blame my unbridled optimism, but great expectations often wither against time constraints and the fact that I’m not actually super-human. Unfortunately there aren’t twenty-eight hours in a day, and I need at least two out of twenty-four hours to devote to coffee.

In this vein, inspired by the original post by A.S. Akkalon, here’s a breakdown of how I think I spend my day versus what actually happens.

6:30 AM – “You’re my favorite person.”

Fantasy:

I wake to my husband’s alarm, sit up smiling and say “You’re my favorite person.”  While he gets ready for work I catch up on the news.  At the foot of the bed Prince Luca (the cat) opens one yellow eye just a slit, then rolls over and curls up against my legs.  I kiss my husband goodbye, set the alarm for 9:30, and Prince Luca and I quickly fall back to sleep.

Reality:

A few minutes before my husband’s alarm, Prince Luca throws my phone from the nightstand and starts playing the window blinds like a harp; it’s time for morning treats, and apparently they taste better from my hand than from the hands of the human who is about to get up anyways.  I stomp off to the kitchen and throw some treats on the floor.  My husband is up now.  I tell him “You’re my favorite person,” before collapsing into bed.  I may or may not remember him kissing me a few minutes later on the way out the door.

9:23 AM – Up and at ’em

Fantasy:

A few minutes before my alarm I wake again, fresh, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the world.  I tune in to the BBC News Hour on my phone and scratch Prince Luca behind the ears before dancing out of the bedroom and into the kitchen.  There is much to do today, but first, coffee and a run!

Reality:

My 9:30 alarm startles me, and I hit snooze twice.  When I finally drag myself to a sitting position I manage to catch the last few minutes of the BBC News Hour, and the news is depressing.  Prince Luca rolls onto his back and blinks slowly, asking why I’m getting up.  I shrug, I guess I don’t have to. . .

No!  I hate wasting daylight, and I’ve got grand ambitions of going for a run.  I step carefully out of bed, wincing a little at my plantar fasciitis pain, and walk groggily to the kitchen, where I grind some beans and set water to boil for coffee.

10:00 AM – Coffee and creativity

Fantasy:

Armed with a pot of French Press, I sit in the living room, open my laptop, and marvel at the words that spill out of me.  Not only do I publish today’s blog post, but I crank out the post I’ve got planned for early next week (I’m always four posts ahead).  I also manage to get a little editing done on my forthcoming novel—all before I reach the bottom of cup number two.  I log into Twitter for a strict ten minutes, then lace up my shoes and hit the pavement for a five mile run.

Reality:

After two cups of coffee I manage to eek out a whopping hundred words of today’s blog post.  In fact, I might not finish it today—what ever happened to working ahead?  I pour a third cup and glance outside. It looks colder than I’d like; that run might have to wait until tomorrow.  I need a short break from the writing to let my head clear, so I open Twitter.

An hour later I look at the time and my heart starts racing!  How’d I go that far down the rabbit hole?  I click back to the blog, do my best to focus, and somehow manage to finish the post.

I should really get out there for that run.  It’s probably not that cold, but it looks like it could rain.  I wouldn’t want to get caught in that. . .

1:00 PM – Prep for the workday

Fantasy:

I’ve showered and I’m feeling energized.  I whip together an amazing, vegetable laden quinoa pilaf to take to work.  I finish cooking in enough time to leave the kitchen spotless, play with Prince Luca and his sister Sookie for a bit, and put in a few minutes on Twitter before leaving for work.

Reality:

I seem to have slipped into the Twitter hole again and I realize I don’t have nearly enough time to get everything done I need to.  It isn’t 1pm, it’s 1:30 already.  Like a madman I dash around the house cleaning up; the bed needs to be made, there are dishes to wash, and the trash desperately needs to go out.  I leap into the shower and groan when I realize I need to shave today.  That’s another five minutes I didn’t budget.

With mere minutes to spare I throw my work things in my backpack, invariably forgetting something.  I meant to make a lovely quinoa pilaf, but that’s clearly not going to happen.  Instead I settle for a frozen Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese.

I wonder for the thousandth time why this part of the day always has to be so stressful.  Tomorrow I’m going to get everything done early.  I’ve got all morning for goodness’ sake!

2:15 PM – Self-propelled commute

Fantasy:

I climb on my bike and a warm tail-wind accompanies me along my eight mile ride to work.  The temperature is perfect and I crank the pedals with ease.

Reality:

It’s only May and I’m already so sick of biking!  The wind is in my face and I can’t believe it’s this cold.  My legs are sore and there is a ton of traffic on the bike path.  Still, halfway through, my spirits lift and I’m finally warm.  I guess maybe I’m not sick of biking after all, but I’d sure love if there wasn’t this damned head wind.

3:15 PM – Making money

Fantasy:

I start my work day at the University Pool.  Everyone is happy, it’s not too busy, and the minutes speed by at a breakneck pace.  Before I know it, the day is halfway done.  I sit in a lifeguard chair and scan the pool while I think about all the writing I’m going to get done when I get back home tonight.

On my breaks I talk to my husband on the phone.  We’re both having the best day, and we’ve got so many stories to share we can’t fit them all into a half-hour conversation.

Reality:

Work is a madhouse.  I’ve got four different water-polo groups spread over the course of the day, each requiring a labor-intensive setup and tear-down.  A diver over-rotates and manages a deafening back-flop that nearly gives me a heart attack.  Before I know it the day is halfway done and I’m exhausted!

On my breaks I talk to my husband and wish I was home with him; we’ve been working opposite schedules for years.  It’s a Monday so not much is going on.  I consider talking about the weekend, but it’s too far away and that would just be depressing.  We last on the phone for just a few minutes, but just hearing his voice gives me a little more energy.  I’m thankful for the conversation, even though there isn’t a lot to say.

12:00 AM – Home again

Fantasy:

I made it home from work before my husband was asleep and we caught up for a few precious minutes.  Now he sleeps soundly while I sip a little wine and listen to my nightly chill radio program.  I open the laptop, spend a few short minutes on Twitter, and then get back to writing and editing.

Reality:

I made it home with just enough time to give my husband a quick peck on the lips.  I sit down with a glass of wine with the intention to make some headway on my writing, but the wine and effort of the day quickly defeat me.  I listen to my nightly radio program and try not to feel bad about relaxing as I scroll through Twitter.  Why do I feel guilty about not being constantly productive?  I have a second glass and think I’ll do better tomorrow.

2:00 AM – Sweet, sweet sleep

Fantasy and Reality Converge:

Bedtime.  I take a few minutes to write in my journal and celebrate everything I accomplished today (even if it wasn’t everything I’d hoped to).  I climb into bed and look at my husband, thankful for our perfectly imperfect life.  Before turning out the light I make sure to secure my phone better on the nightstand.  In a few short hours Prince Luca will be throwing it on the floor.  Then it’ll be rinse, repeat.

As I drift off to sleep, I wonder what I might do if there were twenty-eight hours in a day after all.

Now your thoughts!  Is there a disconnect between how you think you spend your day and what actually happens?  Let me know in the comments below.

Also in the spirit of A.S. Akkalon’s original post, if you’d like to write your own Fantasy versus Reality post, link to this page and I’ll link back.  Please do the same for A.S. Akkalon.  So far here are the others who have participated:

In his take, fellow LGBT indie-author Marcus Lopés struggles to turn 360 degrees in his Toronto condo, while still managing to pull off fine French Cuisine.

Anders Woolf has an interesting walk to work and needs a modern-day rosetta stone to decipher a student’s essay in her version.

Let’s see how far this could go!

Thanks as always for reading (this was a long one).

Gregory

#ambition#daily life#expectations#fantasy#procrastination#productivity#reality

Comments

  1. Get in My Head - May 1, 2017 @ 11:40 am

    So cute. I love this! I would much rather live in my fantasy…
    Fantasy: The husband and six year old get up quietly and get ready for school together. The hubs gets my french press all set up for me next to the roses he got me before he walks out the door hand in hand with the six year old to walk to school. The four year old sleeps in until ten, giving me a chance to sleep in, shower and get some uninterrupted writing done.
    Reality: The whole damn house is wide awake and wild at 5 am. The four year old is laughing her head off for no reason,(probably because it bugs ALL of us), the six year old refuses to get dressed.. there are now cheerios all over the floor. The husband walks out of the bedroom in wrinkly khakis and a tie that doesn’t match his button up. I make him change and shout like a crazy woman and remind him he has labs today, so best not to wear the tie so he doesn’t catch himself on fire. I cry a little because I want coffee.. but I can’t because my adrenals hate me(adrenal fatigue syndrome), and the hubs and six year old rush out the door, leaving behind a screaming four year old who wants to go to school too… and did I brush the six year olds curly fro? Probably not… By the time everything settles down.. it’s only 7am…
    Hahaha… Yes… I like my fantasy much better.. 😉

    • Gregory Josephs - May 1, 2017 @ 11:58 am

      😲 Consider me in awe! And you still manage to write while coordinating all of that! Perhaps YOU are super-human! I thought I had my hands full with the cat. . .

      I guess the fantasy is always a little better than the reality, right? The reality is what we’ve got though, so we make the most of it. 🙂

      • Get in My Head - May 1, 2017 @ 2:01 pm

        Lots of late nights and wine! 😉 Even though it’s crazy… I kind of like how my new reality is shaping out. 😉

  2. itsmyhusbandandme - May 2, 2017 @ 5:54 am

    This all sounds VERY familiar- especially the part where you had the second glass of wine and hope to do better!
    JP

    • Gregory Josephs - May 2, 2017 @ 8:52 am

      Haha, yes! And then later wonder if that second glass helped or hindered the pursuit of ‘better.’ Nothing beats a little self-reflection!

  3. Marcus Lopes - May 2, 2017 @ 11:10 am

    Hi Greg,

    I can definitely relate to the fantasy vs. reality of how I spend my day. It’s easy to plan out the day in my head – get up at 5:00 a.m. with the intention of getting in a few solid hours of writing. The reality is that, like this morning, I write my Morning Pages and the decide to check Twitter … and slip into that black hole. Next thing I know, it’s 8:00 a.m., my partner is heading off to work and beyond my Morning Pages I haven’t written a word.

    But eventually, I find a bit of focused time (I think we all do at some point) and I finish something (like the edits to chapters 4 and 5). Whether we write 1,000 words or a single sentence, I have to remind myself that every little bit is progress, and it moves me closer (even painstakingly slow sometimes) towards my goal.

    Unfortunately for me, if there were 28 hours in a day, I’m not sure much would change. But I’d do my best to just keep on keeping on!

    • Gregory Josephs - May 2, 2017 @ 11:33 am

      Ah Twitter. . . best friend and enemy to all writers! You’re right though. Even when the reality doesn’t match the fantasy, incremental progress is progress just the same!

  4. Rian Durant - May 4, 2017 @ 1:00 am

    Hi Greg, That fun post of yours totally made my day brighter. It was the first thing I read after opening my eyes so it was a good start. 🙂 There’s a chasm between how I think I spend my day and the way I do. I’d love to write a post as soon I find some free time. Believe or not, today I’m off work and yet I wonder whether I’d be able to sit at the comp for at least 1 hour.
    I’m fortunate that twitter is as far from being up my street as it could be but the pink-purple gradient hole of Instagram is always there. 🙂
    Happy writing and see you around the virtual space!

    • Gregory Josephs - May 4, 2017 @ 1:05 am

      Hello Rian,

      Thank you for your lovely response. As you’re waking up I am just heading to sleep, and your comment is a good ending to my day!

      Definitely write a post when you have time. I’d love to read it!

      And as far as Instagram goes. . . my husband is a photographer, so I know that pink-purple gradient hole well! Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll look forward to seeing you around the interwebs as well!

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