Dreaming Through Young Eyes

I turned to the man sitting next to me, who had asked me a question that sounded like “mind if I interview you?”

It was John Stewart.

“Um, sure . . . ” I stammered, “but could I ask you a few questions as well?”

I look down and realize I am dressed in pajamas: a big nightshirt and shorts.

“I’ll be right back,” I think I say, suddenly self-conscious about my young body, but really the scene shifts and I’m in my dorm room–or something like a dorm room. But someone has moved my things all around. It looks like I’ve gotten a new roommate in a single room, but I don’t know who it is because I’m never there. I’m always too busy working on something important.  I feel anger build inside me. How dare they intrude and touch my stuff? Just because I’m never there . . . just because I’ve been living a different life outside of the room for years and years . . . doesn’t mean they have the right to move my things.

I wander over to reorganize;  picking up memorabilia from times long gone, from my college days, from Japan, from moments in between then and now.

Somehow I am simultaneously a young college student and a woman on the downward slide toward 50.

But I dream through the eyes of that younger woman.

I have dreams like this all the time. Well, not about Jon Stewart but I think his presence in my dream is significant if pretty random. I mean dreams where I am somehow back in high school or college, and yet looking on as my more mature self. In those dreams, I am that younger version of myself. In those dreams, everything is still possible. In those dreams I might do something worthy of being interviewed by Jon Stewart, or I might pursue a path that makes me someone who can conduct the interview with Jon Stewart myself–someone who pursued one of my early career dreams (that of being a journalist) and had made my way to the top.

Dream of a Younger Me

Dream of a Younger Me

These dreams fascinate me. I suppose one way to interpret them is that I am dreaming about regrets–about a life not lived, or choices not made. But I don’t think so. I think that these dreams are a reminder of possibility–because while I am the younger version of myself in them, I am simultaneously the person who exists now. My dreams fluctuate from moments that happened in the past to moments in the present, with strange juxtapositions of everything in between. They are not memory dreams, nor are they present time dreams, they are life dreams–images of a complex life lived in a convoluted way.

I admit, I always wake from these dreams feeling discombobulated. (I love that word! I don’t get to use it often enough). The dreams make me doubt my present, and reflect on the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” moments that I try so hard to banish from my vocabulary and my thoughts.

Snapshot_2013914

by Shel Silverstein

At the same time, though, they fascinate me. I rarely–I realized this morning–dream about the NOW through the eyes of the present.. When my dreams make any sense at all, my present self isn’t taking the lead. Yes, my dreams may be influenced by current events and circumstances in my life–but I rarely participate or watch them only through the eyes of the present me. It’s as if the only version of myself that is allowed into dreams, is the younger self who had the biggest dreams.

Or maybe its a reminder that the person I am now is made up of all versions of myself–past, present, and future.

When you dream, which version of you appears in your dreams?