I had a dream last night that the world ended. I'm not sure what to make of it. I'm a heavy sleeper, and I very rarely have nightmares. Almost never. I had nightmares as a small child - and I've read that it's very common in the early stage of childhood. They were horrific and terrifying, and I taught myself how to wake up from them. Once I'd taught myself that skill, they vanished. After that I didn't have nightmares at all until my first marriage. That marriage was a big mistake. I was much too young and not in the right place in my life, so it was a bad thing for me - even though the man I married was a wonderful human being with everything going for him. For me, it was just a rash decision at a very wrong time, and it made me feel trapped, because I knew I'd done it to myself, and I didn't know how to make it right. For years after that I had a recurring marriage nightmare, which only stopped when I met my now-husband (which is one of the ways I knew this one was right). Since then, I have had virtually no nightmares at all.
I think this particular nightmare had to do with a few things:
1. I think it had to do with our goldfish, which have been dying off this year very early in the season. It always hurts me when animals die, a fish no less than any other pet. We had a virus in our fishpond, and it's not a huge deal, but it weighs on me.
2. I'm pretty sure that is has to do with the stress that we've been under lately. And this is a woldwide condition. We are in a state of upheaval and people are having to learn to adapt to some very tough times. It may seem strange because I think that, from our blog, our life looks extraordinarily happy - and it is. But the fact is that we, like everyone else, are suffering from the stresses of this new economic upheaval. On top of the worries of salaries, insurance, income, savings etc etc etc, we have had an unusually tough few weeks thanks to a combination of my husband's workload, a particularly difficult session of final exams and papers in his business school, my own workload, and my ongoing struggle to balance stay-at-home motherhood with my own freelance workload. All of these things have been in play since we brought QQ home, but thus far they have not all converged at once...until this past month. Right now, we have that proverbial "perfect storm" of stresses, and it's grinding us all down. Even QQ with her even, happy temper is feeling the aftershocks of her parents' stress - and I hate to see her affected by it.
For the most part, our life and our joy remains a beautiful thing...but we're stressed, we're tired, we don't have the down-time we need, and it's wearing on all of us.
- Finally, I can't help but think that the stress our planet has been under is a factor in my dream. I worry for our planet - I do. We try to do our part, but we feel like a small boat paddling against the current.
I don't feel like my dream had devastating implications. It wasn't a terrifying nightmare, though it was graphic. The world ended - it just stopped being able to support life, and we all died, one by one. We stopped breathing, like beached fish. I experienced my own death in the dream - and it wasn't awful. It wasn't terrifying. It felt like it was OK. And this tells me that part of it was a sort of "giving in". In my mind, I was admitting that I wasn't strong enough to fight against the current. I had to let go, and give in to the natural order of things. This is how it was meant to be. So I think part of it is my mind telling me that I have to relinquish what I've come to think of as my control over my life. I have to take a leap of faith and say, OK, sometimes I'm just not strong enough. So be it. I'm going to put myself in the hands of greater forces, and believe that things will turn out as they are meant to.
Does that make sense?
I didn't wake from this dream sweaty and exhausted and frightened, the way one does from a true nightmare. I woke thinking - OK, maybe I need to let go of my "control freak" personality, and just say...enough. Let's just go with the stream, and see what happens. Maybe I don't need to know how things will turn out. Maybe things will turn out as they should even without my guidance.