As we age, we face a lot of our decisions head-on. Sometimes, we’re happy with what we’ve done. But that’s not our nature. We don’t tend to celebrate the victories, we like to lament over our choices. We like to torture ourselves with “what if” questions, especially when we’re looking at the bad side of one of our decisions. “The grass is always greener,” I like to tell myself, but that doesn’t keep my subconscious from dropping me into “what could have been” scenarios from time to time.
Most of the time, these are just harmless dreams that don’t resemble any reality, and I simply wake up and shake them off. Once in a while, though, I’ll have a dream that hits close to home. It’s interesting how the subconscious can ignore certain facts to paint the picture it wants to see. I recently had a dream about a woman I could say I’ve had a crush on for a while. We’re good friends, at least we were, and I find her creeping into my dreams as if I had made the choice to run away with her at some point in my life. While the dreams are sublime, and of course, the dream girl in question is exquisite, I really get upset at my subconscious when I have one of these dreams. They’re completely unfair to my current situation and my wife. They make me depressed because the feeling I have in my dream is so wonderful, so loving, so intense. It’s a dream, Life cannot be sustained as my dream is telling me “it could have been.”
I roll over and wake up, in the hangover of a perfect dream, knowing that the reality could never be what I just experienced. My day is ruined at that point. It will take me all day to shake the feeling that my life could be better. First of all, my life isn’t bad. My subconscious is mistaking normal aging for lack of interest, and clearly, my brain craves the intimacy of youth. The worst part comes from not being able to talk to anyone about it. If I bring up a dream of where I have a better life, my wife will take it as a sign that I’m unhappy. That’s just not the case. I’m a hopeless romantic, and I have dreams where I’m in love, deep gushy love, quite often. They are annoying. I’m old enough to know that that initial feeling of love is not easy to sustain, especially when you have adult responsibilities. But my wife will hear that I don’t love her anymore and that I’m going to leave her for mistress X. Not the case.
I actually don’t talk about my dreams with my wife because my dreams are extremely strange. She will tell me all about hers, and on the one occasion I told her mine, it caused some sort of fight, so somewhere along the line, we came to an understanding that I just won’t talk about my dreams.
The crazy thing is that mistress X is exactly the same as my wife. There are not many differences in real life, and in my dreams, there’s even less difference. There are times when the name is one, but the person is my wife. I still wake up with lamentations for what my brain thinks my life should be like.
I didn’t have one of those dreams last night. That’s the good news. I had put down the subject to write about a few weeks ago, and it’s taken me this long to actually figure out what I wanted to say, if anything at all, about this woman who could have been a girlfriend. Because that’s what it is, my brain missing the initial discovery of another human. That first couple of months when you first fall for someone where you’re complete enamored with them and they can do no wrong, and you want to know everything about them and do everything with them and never leave their side. It’s my favorite drug if I’m honest. I love being in the throes of passion to where I want to breathe in the essence the person I’m with. I can’t say I’m happy that I’ll never know that feeling again.
I’ve chosen to be with my wife, who I love and adore, but I’ve discovered her, and the newness is most definitely worn off. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her anymore, it doesn’t mean I want to find someone else, it certainly doesn’t mean we’re unhappy. It simply means I made a choice to stay with her for the rest of my life. I’m hoping she continues to want to return the sentiment because as much as I love that feeling of getting to know someone intimately, I cringe at the possibility of having to go through the discovery process again to find someone I’m interested in enough to want to know.
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