I had a dream. Not the profound, societal-changing kind, but the sleep kind. Not a big deal, right? We all dream every night (even if you don’t remember them, you dream.) But the big deal of this dream was personal.
It was special, in part, because I haven’t remembered a dream in a very long time. For months, maybe a year, I’ve been spending my eyes-closed hours in the hard and fast sleep of the under-slumbered.
I’ve always been what I call, “sleep gifted” (and my doctor calls a “potential sleep disorder”). When my head hits the pillow, I’m out in less than five minutes. For me, bedtime is zonktime. Pillow, darkness and, in what feels like mere moments, a wish to remain asleep despite the rise-and-shine hour.
But on the Big Deal Dream morning I woke fast, grabbed my phone and quickly tapped out the details of the technicolor, delightful, lesson-delivering dream. Here’s the edited version.
My big deal dream:
I was participating in a flash poetry slam contest. With a short time limit, contestants wrote a poem and, somehow, I had made it to the finals. However, Dream Susan couldn’t write poetry any better than Awake Susan does even though Dream Susan CAN fly, run without gasping for air, still do a back handspring and have (encounters) with beautiful people.
Dream Susan can do the impossible, but Dream Susan can’t write poetry.
Nevertheless, she persisted. Dream Susan was in a tent overlooking the ocean and wrote fast on a large whiteboard in a nicer, jauntier font than the penmanship of Awake Susan.
In a writing high, Dream Susan crafted a short poem about bees and words swirling together in a jar. When the jar dropped, the words disappeared into silence, but the bees attacked. Not only did the protagonist hurt from the searing pain of the stings, she knew that the Benadryl she needed to survive was going to knock her out.
The message: Use words with care; they are fleeting but their sting causes lasting harm.
Dream Susan read her finished work, took a drink of iced tea, shook her head with a laugh… and ROLLED HER EYES. Dream Susan knew horrible poetry when she saw it.
The next moment I was awake with one feeling: contentment.
I can easily point to why a lot of the elements were in my dream: A real life friend had just attended a poetry slam; the seaside resort was in a photo I had saved for garden inspiration and I’ve been brewing iced tea daily. But I wasn’t content because the images in my dream were comfortingly familiar.
I wasn’t content because I had enjoyed a few beautiful moments in a stunning, colorful setting.
I certainly wasn’t content because I had to wake and leave it.
I was content because I realized that I had accepted my limitations. I will never be a poet. I will never be a singer or professional dancer, or a long list of other creative activities that I admire but lack the skill to accomplish in a manner that I would want to accomplish them.
We’re always telling our kids “You can do anything if you’re determined and work at it,” but is that enough? What if we say, “Try, try again, but when you accept what you can’t do, don’t be disappointed; be content. You can still appreciate and enjoy those things, still be in awe of the skill and talent of those who excel at them, but when you realize what you can’t do well, you open yourself up to find the things that you can.”
Isn’t that the dream?