The meaning of dreams

Most of my dreams seem ridiculous and random. If I remember them at all, I certainly don’t analyze them or try to figure out what they might signify. Others, however, are recurring and do seem to have meaning.

As a child and young adult, I often had gory dreams about having all my teeth pulled or knocked out. When this happened, I’d often wake up with a sore jaw, but little did I realize that I was grinding my teeth during the night! Since I started sleeping with a bruxism splint, I’ve never had one of those dreams again.

For many years, in spite of the fact that I enjoyed my teaching career, in the days leading up to each new school year I had what I called my “school dreams“.  These were dreams in which everything went wrong.  All a teacher’s worst nightmares would visit me as the end of August approached! Though I anticipated the beginning of each new school year with excitement, I recognized that my strange dreams were a symptom of the stress involved in teaching. When these dreams started recurring several years after I retired, however, I was puzzled, but I soon figured out that my brain still equates stress with teaching. Regardless of the cause, it still reacts to higher than normal levels of stress by filling my nights with bizarre school dreams!

Last night, I had a series of unusually vivid dreams. In the first one, I was planning to catch a ferry. Where to, I have no idea, but I arrived early and had time to kill so I parked my car a short distance from the ferry terminal and went for a walk through the town which bore no resemblance to any place I’ve ever actually been. As I admired the historic architecture of the town, I found myself walking with another woman who urged me to explore a path that led up and over a hill between some houses. Knowing that I had a limited amount of time, I was reluctant, but I agreed to walk a little ways with her. Before long, I realized that I had gone too far and was in danger of missing my ferry. I turned around and began to run back to my car. I remember running and running and running, frantically hoping that I wouldn’t be too late. And then I woke up.

I don’t remember the second dream quite as well, but I do recall that I was supposed to be attending an awards ceremony at the local school. Shortly before it was due to begin, I was out on the street chatting with various people who all urged me to hurry home and get ready. How I got there is a bit vague, but I ended up back in an apartment, which was apparently my home, trying to figure out what to wear. As I tried on and rejected one outfit after another, I soon realized that it was only a few minutes until the event was to begin. I became more and more frantic, but I continued trying on and rejecting item after item until I finally woke up again!

Each ensuing dream became more vague than the one before, but there was a common theme. In each one, I was going to be late for something. I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant something and so this morning, I googled “the meaning of dreams”. Apparently, according to several sources, dreams of being late represent feelings about having missed an important opportunity. One so-called dream expert suggested that a person ought to respond to these dreams by asking where in your life do you feel that time is running out or what do you need to do before it does. So, I ask myself, were last night’s nocturnal imaginings telling me something of significance or did I simply eat the wrong snack before I went to bed? What, if any, opportunities have I missed?

With another cancer treatment and it’s follow-up scans coming up next week, a night of school dreams probably wouldn’t be too surprising, but the closest I can come to the lost opportunity scenario is the vague feeling that’s been growing within me lately that perhaps I ought to be doing something meaningful with my experiences of the past couple of years. What that might be, I’m not at all sure.

What do you think? Do your dreams have meaning?

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