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We've all done it, sat around, or laid around and just looked out the window at nothing in particular. When I was a kid I did it in class, it was called day dreaming then and many of my teachers, unaware of what adventure I was on, or what story I was writing, would tell my parents that I was doing it for which I would be told " now don't you go to class and use your brain for anything but what your teachers tell you to.."
Somehow letting your mind create without distraction turned into a 'dream', I never really understood how creativity (a good thing) morphed to 'dreaming' a bad thing. Maybe it was the 'day' part.
As I got older day dreaming turned in to spacing out. I won't presume to tell any one here that I didn't do my fair share of' spacing out' if you know what I mean, as a matter of fact, and I am not bragging here, there have been periods of time in my life that I have 'spaced out' so much that I honestly don't remember most of what I 'spaced out' about. Therein lies the difference I guess; with 'spaced out' any creating I may have done was left, well, somewhere in space ( because I sure as hell can't find it), with my day dreams I usually remember the good parts, like right now for instance. But, here's a question, there are times when I am just about to go to sleep or I just woke up and I find myself staring out the window. If I dream then is it a day dream or a night dream or am I just spacing out?
Now as I get a little older day dreaming is called early onset dementia, especially if I come up with something completely off the wall like talking animals or dancing pigs or alien invaders taking over the local gas station. Come to think of it, dementia seems a lot like 'spacing out', I'll let you decide which type of spacing out I'm referring to.
So if my day dreams are going to change again as I get even older I would like to suggest that instead of calling it Alzheimer's someone refer to it as 'looking out the window' that way I will have come full circle. Hopefully I will remember stuff from looking out the window if I'm not to spaced out.
I think dreams express our true creativity, unencumbered by any predetermined or expected goal, or result. Many people consider dreams just something to waste your time with. However, if we were not given this capacity by nature, we'd still be hunters and gatherers, and drawing stuff on cave walls. Acting on our dreams is how we evolve, rather than stagnate.
That being said, you need to put those dreams to a worthwhile, creative use. Like writing, making something, or inventing something..or improving on something that already exists. Otherwise, you ARE just wasting your time, and not using it constructively. Besides, staring is bad for your vision.
I don't really know what to make of your post, or whether you're at all interested in someone's pondering it at length, the way I've done below. BUT, I'm a big fan of "pondering at length" (perhaps a different version of "spacing out") when I have nothing better to do, so, obviously, ignore my long post if it's not the kind of thing you want to bother with.
It seems to me the OP has creativity that I don't have (which means, of course, that I can't relate to "daydreams" involving stuff like aliens and gas stations, etc.). I don't know how old the OP actually is, but I suppose it may be worth mentioning that my late father-in-law had a time when he was actually seeing little horses on his bureau. That was a matter of his heart medication mixing with some other medication he was on. I doubt that's the OP's situation, but it seemed worth mentioning anyway.
As a non-creative person (and I mean NON-creative - not a lick of creativity), I pretty much don't have day-dreams these days. I just space out. Well, I space out or else I actually have conversations with myself because having those conversations (when nobody is around, and I have the luxury of acting crazy without having anyone know it) helps me get back in touch with the "me" that I really am. I only do those conversations when/if I feel the need (and, again, have the privacy). Other than that, though, I just space out. When I space out I let my mind go wherever it wanders, but it usually wanders to kind of "mental writing" of something. Then, when I sit down to write, it's as if whatever I "mentally wrote" has mostly all been written. Other than that, the only time I do complete "spacing out" would be right before I pass out to go to sleep, and since I live chronically exhausted and with too little sleep, there's pretty much only a couple of minutes (if that) before I "pass out".
In any case, I'd disagree that any of this "idle" mental activity is a waste of time. Like sleeping dreams, this kind of spacing out, tuning inward, mind-wandering, "mental writing" and "idea-formulating" all serves the purpose of giving us time to get away from day-to-day stuff and responsibilities; and staying/getting in touch with who/what we are as individuals. I can't imagine living life without taking some time (even taking some time we don't particularly have) to do some thinking, dreaming, analyzing, pondering, questioning, observing, etc. etc. We need to keep growing throughout our lives, and growth comes from within - not from focusing only on things like cleaning house, paying bills, doing our job, and getting the supermarket before it closes. The growth that takes place with children isn't limited to just how tall they get, but comes very much from the development/growth that takes place within. How sad and vacant (it would seem to me) to have stopped growing and pondering as human beings just because we're as tall as we're ever going to be. All I know is that if it weren't for all that "inner growth" (that is sometimes, but not always, triggered by external things/events/concerns), I sure as heck wouldn't be the person I've become in all these decades of living at the height I reached back in the seventies.
When I was a kid in secondary school I'd tune out of classes that I found boring because I preferred, instead, to think of things that could be done to help all the people with problems in the world. (Since I paid attention in grade school I can only assume that it was the teen developmental stage that made me ponder the world's problems and what, if anything, I could ever do about any of them.) Of course, my best friend and I would each share our daydreams about things like going to a dance with whatever boy we liked. We'd imagine how things might be on our own. Then we'd make the fun of the daydreams last longer by sharing them. We knew we were being ridiculous, but we shared the fun and that special "being ridiculous" that only two close, fourteen-year-old, friends tend to share. We discovered, too, that sometimes, as we fell off to sleep, we'd be having a day-dream about whatever event/person was the latest interest; but then we'd kind of lose control of the day-dream by falling asleep. When she and I would share day-dreams we'd call them "thoughts". We'd say, "I had a Thought" (but we both knew we meant "daydream"). Somehow, though, "daydream", seemed to frivolous. "A Thought" seemed to do more justice to the importance of the subject. When the day-dreams were something we came up with as we waited for sleep, we tried to describe the state-of-mind we were in (because it was different from out-and-out, awake day-dreaming). We decided to call those "Thoughts", "Dozed-Off-Dream-Thoughts"
It's with tremendous fondness that I recall those early teens days and all the things my friend and I "spaced out" about, first alone and then together. We day-dreamed (and "dozed-off-dream-thoughted") about who we'd be, what our lives would/could be, what we wanted, etc. etc. In short, we grew up; and we grew up deciding that we would be, together, as ridiculous and time-wasting as we wanted to be; because we had discovered that part of being who/what we want to be, and having the kind of life we want to have, first involves having that time to imagine, plan and sort out all that kind of stuff. That's not crazy, and it's not a waste of time.
I suppose, with regard to what "borders on dementia" and what doesn't, my guess would be whether we choose to "space out" and whether we can just as easily return from it if/when we want/need to. Other than that, you know what they say about "a mind is a terrible thing to waste". As far as I'm concerned, there must be a reason we have the ability to use our minds to dream, or just to take a rest from real life and re-energize our mental batteries. I don't think those abilities of the mind should be wasted any more than any others should be.
(By the way, that friend I mentioned never had the chance to see a lot of those day-dreams and "dozed-off-dream-thoughts" turn into reality because her life was taken by a drunk driver just weeks before we both turned twenty-one. I may be the only person who ever knew how much joy my friend got from dreaming about what she (or we) could be, or have for a life; and I know I'm the only one who knows how much fun she had just being "ridiculous" (and laughing at herself/us because of it) and indulging in imagining stories with endings over which she had control and that were inevitably happy ones. What better use could she have made of some of that time she had in those years.... )
All that aside, love804, I don't know who it is that's "calling it early onset dementia". If it's, by any chance, a doctor; then I don't really have anything wise enough to offer here. If it's someone other than a doctor, however, and if you know that you can choose to "come and go" with the "day-dreaming" whenever you want to, then I think you ought to straighten out a few people and don't let anyone tie what is a perfectly normal thing to "dementia", just because you aren't young. Maybe you're just mature enough, and smart enough, not to stop doing something (day-dreaming) just because you're no longer young. (Of course, these "words of wisdom" are coming from someone who pulls all-nighters on the computer (like a college kid might) and has just confessed to the Internet world to having "conversations-with-myself" sessions whenever I get the privacy to indulge in those. )
Just one more note: There were some studies called "The Nun Studies". These were studies of nuns in one convent who lived to be very elderly. It was found that those who had strong language skills in their teens/early twenties faired better (as far as Alzheimer's goes) than those who did not. Also, though, the studies showed that these women, who had kept their brains active throughout their lives, sometimes actually had physiological signs (in autopsies done after they died) of Alzheimer's being present, and yet did not show signs of it while they lived. The moral to that story: It's always good to keep one's mind busy.
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