A little self delusion can make for a great life.
Someone said this to me recently and at first I was shaking my head.
No. Keeping your head in the clouds about looming realities is a terrible plan.
For the first few months of this pregnancy my husband and I talked about the tough times ahead. Our first baby was colicky and cried a lot and didn’t sleep well for a long, long time. Our first year as parents was both wonderful and stressful. I still look back on some of those nights and days and shudder. I had no idea I could function on so little sleep for so long.
As the weeks ticked by the conversation about impending change turned positive.
We’re going to have a quiet winter here on the island. I’m expecting to spend a lot of time in flannel pajamas. My husband is taking two weeks off work, my mother will be visiting for a week and we’re going to get some housekeeping help for at least the first six weeks.
Is it ridiculous that I’ve added ‘download classic novels to Kindle to read while nursing’ to my ‘get done before baby arrives’ list? I keep having this vision of myself with a sleeping baby on me as I read Jane Eyre. I see Henry playing peacefully with his train set, or flipping through a book, his sibling snoozing in a rocker, as I take a cat nap on the couch.
A bit of delusion can be a good thing.
A touch of it. Enough to keep your spirits up in the face of something daunting. Enough to quell fears and create a positive vision for the future even if that vision is unlikely to happen.
I’m using this same technique to stay positive when people tell me:
Once your son is in school he’ll be begging for all the toys his friends have.
When your child is older you’ll have to get a car to go to football(soccer) practice and such.
It won’t be practical to live in an apartment with older children.
Maybe all of those things are true. Maybe we’ll be in a big house with two cars and my son will have a cell phone when he’s eight. Maybe.
Maybe I’m kidding myself if I think I can keep these low/no gift birthday parties up.
But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe a touch of delusion is why I haven’t given up on living with less stuff.
I can see I’m delusional about a few more things. I’m entering my fourth year of being out of the traditional work force.
Yet, I still think that if I need to or want to in the future I’ll be able to find a job that I like and that was at least equal in pay, skill required and seniority to the one I left when I had my son.
So I’m not shaking my head now. I’m nodding.
Yes, a little self delusion can make for a great life.