Have you ever gone through a period of your life where it felt like you were sleepwalking? Like you were living in a dream…or accidentally stepped into an alternate universe? If you are human (and I’m assuming that most of you are) then I’m sure you have.
There are the negative sleepwalking periods: remember the break-up from your first true love? The deception you felt after you discovered that one of your heroes was not who you thought they were? The first time, as an adult, that someone close to you died?
I remember. And each time, the initial shock was followed by the dream days, days where I looked at everything around me like I was seeing it for the first time. Days where the air felt like water and I was swimming through the eternal minutes until I could (hopefully) drift off and away to a better place within my sleeping subconsciousness.
And then there is the flip side to the experience. The positive sleepwalking periods. Being handed the set of keys for your very first home that you’re not renting…that’s YOURS! Finding out that a war is over, or that after many dark political years, a corner has been turned and you are being handed a sliver of hope (by a really handsome black dude, no less!). The realization that that person you fancy like crazy feels the same about you. Getting the letter from the university or grad school you didn’t think would ever accept you telling you that you have a place in their hallowed institution. And how about that split second after you find out you are going to have a baby. (Ok, for some that might fall under the “negative”, but I’m speaking from the point of view of someone who REALLY REALLY wanted one.)
With the positive sleepwalking, on top of the wandering-around-in-a-dream feeling, you get that adrenaline rush that can last from minutes to days. And after that wears off, after your body forces you to calm down so you won’t blow a fuse, for weeks it still comes back to hit you like a lightening bolt every time it pushes its way to the forefront of your consciousness.
Did any of those examples work for you? Are you feeling any little twinges from your sleepwalking memories? Any little stabs or jolts flashing across your synapses? Good. Bundle them all up and try this on for size…
Let’s say there’s a dream you’ve had all of your life. Something you want to happen, or someone you want to become. You spend years dancing around it, not exactly avoiding it, but just living safely. Treating your desire like a hobby because who knows if it will actually work out, and, admit it…you’re no longer twenty years old with nothing to lose.
And then, one day, circumstances force you into a position where you are finally able to take a shot at your dream. (Say…if you leave your country, career, social circle, and former life and move somewhere where you have no friends, no job, no money, no sleep, no understanding of social norms and…no escape. Um, not that I would know, but let’s just say “if”.) You find yourself with time on your hands. And the need to communicate what you’re going through. You spend a few years moving closer to the dream…why not call it a swimming pool, just for the metaphor…still dancing around it, perhaps dipping your toe in the shallow end, but gradually creeping towards the water inch by inch.
And then, all of a sudden, you take the plunge. You dedicate yourself entirely (or at least every spare moment you can grab) to achieving your dream. You take a chance. You tell people that you’re doing it. You risk derision (either silent or spoken) from the naysayers: the people who care about you and feel your valuable time would be better spent in a job that has a secure pension instead of on a risky venture; or the elderly colleague who wonders aloud how you could possibly have anything interesting to write about at your age. You try to let their words slip past you like the water past your skin as you skim through the water, holding your breath. And, as tiny bubbles rise to the surface all around you, you wait to see where your efforts take you…if anywhere at all.
And then finally (for the sake of this story, let’s say it was a little over two weeks ago) you break the surface of the water, gulp in a blessed lungful of oxygen, and look Destiny (who just happens to be hanging out next to your swimming pool) in the eye. She smiles at you, hands you a towel, and informs you that your dreams have come true. In a way that exceeds your every expectation.
You step out of the pool in a daze, numb with shock, lightening bolts hitting you from all sides, your esophagus so constricted with emotion that you can barely breathe. You have gotten to where you wanted to be. You take the first step away from the water and onto the path that Destiny has pointed out. And you begin walking. For the first few days, you wake up in the morning wondering if it was all a dream, and then your eyes focus on the path ahead of you, and you get numb and shaky all over again.
Well, friends…I can’t stop smiling. And my feet haven’t yet come down to the ground. I’m still sleepwalking. And next Monday you will know why.