Last night I dreamed that I took my kids to a train museum and when we got the pictures from our field trip developed, every single one was blurry and not of anything important. Also, I had a cousin in the dream whose girlfriend was cheating on him and the girlfriend couldn’t understand why he didn’t like that.
And that’s pretty par for the course for me in a night. If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, you’ll notice that I occasionally post what I dreamed about the night before, if it’s especially entertaining. I would say it’s rare for me to have a dreamless night.
When I was a kid, this meant that I had lots of repeating nightmares, which I think is normal for kids. I still remember the most scary ones; they usually involved me losing a family member. As I got older, those eventually stopped and I started having dreams Salvador Dali would paint. Lots of random. If you sift through all the random dreams, you’ll find two or three dreams filled with symbolic imagery: stone, water, wilderness, blood, books. But most of my dreams are of the random kind. They make sleeping fun!
I was in high school when I discovered that not everyone has dreams almost every night. In fact, some people don’t seem to ever remember a dream. This shocked me and I remember commenting, “If I didn’t have dreams, I don’t think I’d bother sleeping!” To sleep and never dream sounded like a sad existence to me.
On the other hand, there are some people who seem to always have meaningful dreams that guide their lives, who probably very honestly can say, “I know that I am a visionary wo/man.” The colors, the shapes, the people in their dreams: all representative of meaning, depth, and the direction their lives should take. I’m a little jealous of these people, but that would mean the end of my fun nonsense dreams, and I don’t think I’m ready for that yet.
I am currently pregnant, and pregnancy is notorious for a higher-than-average dream count. More sex dreams, more nonsense dreams, and a few birthing dreams. But in the last few weeks, I’ve had what I consider “urgency” dreams. When I wake from an “urgency” dream, I feel an immediate impulse to accomplish a certain task. Maybe this is how my subconscious “nests” while I’m pregnant?
Last week, during a nap, I dreamed that I went back to school for a master’s in mathematics. While there, I decided (again) that I didn’t want to pursue math professionally, but when I woke, I felt the strong desire to sign up for a class of some sort. I spent the first half hour after waking searching the open enrollment classes at my local university, but ultimately decided on a Coursera class to test the academic waters before committing money to that pursuit.
This week, I dreamed I finally emailed someone I’ve been meaning to. That email will progress my “career” a little bit. When I woke up, I rededicated myself to writing that email… and did so that afternoon. I figure it doesn’t hurt to follow the impulses, since I don’t usually get them.
So all these dreams, from nonsense to meaningful, has made me want to ask the Exponent community: are you also a dreamer? Surely, I’m not the only one. Or are you one who never remembers a dream? Do you have nonsense dreams or meaningful dreams? And if someone has an insight on why some people’s brains dream and others’ don’t, please share! I know medications, foods, and hormones can affect dreams. Have you had a period in your life where you’ve been flooded with dreams or experienced a drought of them?