Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Dreams and Perspectives

Perspective is a funny thing.

Before I elaborate on that, let me just note that last night's dreams were weird - even by my standards[1]. I mean... Look, I know that megachurches can get kind of... extravagant... but what sort of megachurch combines their sanctuary with a swimming pool, so they can flood the first few rows of seats? Admittedly, the kids sure enjoyed swimming around, but it seemed a little distracting in the midst of a service. There was a birthday party at a girl's house, which for some reason involved traveling up and down a river - maybe playing in the river, too. Later on, I dreamed that I was watching a movie where a guy was getting checked into a psych ward, and - perhaps appropriately - a moment later the dream shifted and I was the guy getting checked into the psych ward. Not a nice clean psych ward, either - the kind of grungy, claustrophobic, old-fashioned psych ward that tends to show up in horror movies. That wasn't the scary part, though.

No, this was the scary part: somewhere in there, my girlfriend turned up pregnant.

Now, in the waking world, this is a girl I knew in the first half of college. I haven't seen or heard from her in nearly two decades. I'd say more about her, but between the passage of time and the limitations of my younger self's judgement, there isn't much that would really be relevant.

In the dream, she was apparently still my girlfriend, and real-world current-time elements (like my wife and children) simply didn't exist. And in the dream, I learned she was pregnant.

Back when we were still dating, my younger self wouldn't have considered that the end of the world. A difficult and unwelcome situation, certainly, but nothing we couldn't work through. Part of me even found the idea of having a child appealing - not by this particular girl, perhaps, but in the abstract I rather liked the idea.

Apparently my perspective has changed over the years, because dreaming that I was actually in that situation was enough to wake me in a cold sweat with my heart pounding. Frankly, I prefer the funhouse nightmares, where monsters are chasing me. This one was just a little too scary for me.

[1] This was probably the result of a combination of Nyquil and sleeping on the floor in my son's room.

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