Thursday, October 11, 2012

I don't know what I dreamed

Regarding unknown dreams

It could be due to an upbringing cloaked in deferred gratification and protestant guilt. Or some personal flaw or trait, maybe it's just how I work. Or reality, it's just how it is. But I don't know what I dreamed. All I know is it doesn't seem to have been this. This job, this bicycle commuting, this neighborhood, this economy, this country, this world, no, it seems to have been something else, a different dream.

Perhaps it all comes from an unwarranted sense of anticipation. Back to the deferred gratification thing. It's not today, but look ahead, it's coming. It's what's next. Get antsy because it's not here now but it will be then, soon. So....when is then? How much longer until soon? Where's the confirmation that the anticipation was warranted?

I'm riding my bike now: is this what the dream was about? It feels pretty cool, but this isn't what I remember. Although I'm not sure what I remember about it, so maybe it actually is, this dreamy ride is what I dreamed of, what tomorrow would bring, just wait. I waited. Tomorrow is now. Isn't it? The old question, actually relevant here, for once: is this actually the dream, and how would I know? That would make some sense, since although it's certainly possible and I've possibly experienced it, dreaming about things that you would also later dream about seems less probable than realizing that since you don't remember dreaming about this time, which feels as if you were supposed to have first dreamt it then lived it, could directly imply that this current experience must be the actual dream itself.

That is (to parse out an unfortunately dense sentence): this particular ride doesn't ring any "this is exactly what I dreamt about bells" because it is the dream itself, so after I wake up and resume non-dream existence, I will go on the actual ride or something very similar to it and saying something similar to, "Whoa, this bike ride is exactly what I dreamt it would be!"

The thing is, this is not a dream, nor is does it seem to be what I dreamt about. 

Some clarification: this is not a rant about my neurotic obsessions about some vague what-might-have-beens, could-have-beens, should-have-beens. That's no way to be, for me, I've pushed it aside, I've filed it away, I don't dwell it that place in that sense. Am what I am, at where I'm at, it's decent and I do my best. But I'm curious. I am possessed of an insatiable need to know about those observations I've quarantined off in their own little no-go zone. They are embargoed from regular active thought or reflection. They are not permitted to play a role day to day. But I am curious, beyond imagining: why don't I know or remember what I dreamed, and whence this sense that this was not it? And what to do, what should be done, what must be done? What does this feeling feel like, why does it feel like this, and what, if anything, should or shouldn't be done in response?

Because this was supposed to be, you know, the time or age when those dreams (whatever they were) were made real. Supposed. So at least the origin of the insatiable need to know is clear.

This is also not some loss of innocence or crisis of idealism post. I'm way past either of those. If anything, there's a strong pragmatic motivation here: do I teach my kids not to defer their gratification, not to fuel their anticipatory sense, not to feed too many dreams that may just be forgotten, slipped away? Something like that? You see the point, anyway. For them there is time. Future. To be changed, now, going forward.

Why do I write posts like this sometimes? Perhaps it's part of my dream, either as-dreaming, or dream-to-be. Or yours. I guess, but how would we know? Talk it over, ride it out, I suppose.

The question of the feeling of unrealized unremembered dreams may have something to do with the subject of this post on Alastair Humphreys' blog, which I saw after composing my post: What Would You Do if Money was No Object?. Perhaps it's time to come up with some new dreams, ones that stick. I'll share that video here, too, well worth watching, and well worth asking: what do I desire?


  1. I never dreamt of a bicycle-life either - maybe what I dreamt of was a simple, happily contented life, and the bicycle-life, luckily discovered, filled in the gaps - the bicycle, in a way, dreaming us into its life-dream…

    1. I wonder if there isn't a phase of dream ownership, where we mature and figure out that the dreams that we're given when younger--from our culture, from advertising, from peers, from elders or superiors, from wherever--are not our own, and so we set out on a journey to make or find our own. A generalized seeking skill, not dream-focused but just setting out on your own to see what you can see, is amplified for me on a bicycle.

  2. If this post is any evidence, it's not all about the bike. Impassioned post - enjoyed it thoroughly.

    1. Thank you, Yung Falbz. I'm gratified anyone read or commented on this, which is a bit of demonstration, I guess, of what Alan Watts says at the end of the video (paraphrasing his garbled words a bit): "Somebody's interested in everything, and anything you can be interested in you'll find others who are. It's absolutely stupid spending time doing things you don't like, in order to go on spending time doing things you don't like, and to teach your children to follow along in the same track." I'm still not sure that converts into practicable change at this point in my life. But it's pretty to think of it, and makes my neurons go all pitter-patter to spin on it.


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