Just about 90 minutes north of my house is a small town ravaged by economic downturn. It used to be a bustling place nestled among the hills, filled with stately Victorian houses, until the local industry dried up and moved the remaining jobs to another state. Hard times have taken a toll on this little town and its once cute Main Street is now lined with vacant storefronts and desolate city blocks.
One of my curiosities is to peruse the “fixer-upper” real estate for sale in my section of the country. I can pretty much tell you what the going rate is for a dilapidated farm, vacant century home, or overgrown cottage in the lonely meadow. My gift and my curse is to see potential. I would love to buy an old “knock-her-down-er” and restore it to its former glory.
So why not do that with a whole town?
While browsing the real estate for this run-down place, I came across a 50,000 sq/ft building covering an entire downtown block. The asking price? $15,000. Yes… a one, a five, followed by three zeros. That’s what a two story 100 year old office building will cost you in my local (soon to be) ghost town.
I know I’ll never buy the building but I can daydream. What would I do to revitalize not only a building, but the town surrounding it? Little ideas, like new park benches and flower baskets, led to bigger things, like farmer’s market stalls on the first floor and a training center on the second floor for the local youth to learn and train in the customer service and hospitality fields. Not exactly earth shattering, but better jobs than are currently available.
In my mind the old building, now mostly covered with plywood panels instead of sparkling glass windows, transformed into a beautiful Gothic masterpiece with arched nooks to house outdoor vendor stalls, vast interior corridors with gleaming terrazzo tile floors, and specialty shops with ice cream, wines, café lunches luring visitors who want a nice day trip to escape from the three nearby metro areas filled with traffic and summer heat.
In the summer, music concerts of all types would take place. Family friendly bands in the afternoon, something a little more club-like or rocking at night. Open air tables for sharing a bottle of wine with some romantic dalliance….
Daydreaming is a beautiful thing. There are no constraints. No budgets to worry about. No permits to pull. No shrinkage or bad debts. No money is lost. No disappointments. Growth is immediate and every idea leads to success. In my mind, I was already practicing my acceptance speech for when the town leaders presented me with the key to the city.
I truly believe that daydreaming is good for the soul. Our imaginations take us to the highest heights where we jump off and SOAR. Like little children with imaginary friends, we get to play with the metaphorical Legos in our mind. We get to be kids again. We get to be free.
As teens we dream of the day when we can move out of our parent’s home and finally be free. But we soon learn that freedom is not really free, there are jobs to keep, bills to pay, budgets to struggle with, and all we’ve done is trade one set of “rulers” for another. And Mom is no longer around to do our laundry.
But daydreaming puts us back into a magical state of mind. Our best days are ahead of us. Like winning the Powerball Lottery, there are no boundaries to what we can do. We just can’t lose.
I encourage you to daydream a little and share your thoughts with a loved one. It’s a beautiful way for someone close to you to learn what gets you excited and maybe, just maybe, they will share a little of their own daydreams too.
What do you dream about?