Tuesday, November 22, 2011

That Dream

Tonight, I had old faithful again. The Dream. That Dream.

I was going home from somewhere to somewhere, by train. A very large train, internally, but that's not the point. I had gone shopping for various groceries; some candy I think, perfume, wine. I had my things in an ordinary plastic bag, and was sitting in a rather crowded train. Note that the dream doesn't always take place in a train.

Interestingly, as with all versions of this dream, I felt... alive, social, outgoing. I easily talked to people and they knew me, and I knew them. Many faces are usually of people from my childhood, a very few might be from more recent times, but it's more than often strangers to me in real life.

Suddenly as I prepare to get off the train, as I know it's like 1 or 2 stations left to go, I realize that I can't find my bag. Or can I? The bag I got doesn't seem quite right. I know for sure what I bought at the store, and my partner at home is expecting me to get some of the things for her... But as I look around and compare bags that seem to be spread around, with nobody really caring that I look in them, I start to realize that I don't know exactly what to expect of the bag; I can't remember clearly what I bought, only the concept of it more or less.

I got an idea though. I'd quickly talk to the reception at the train (yes, a reception, remember it was a very large train). I went there and after a strange encounter with a very randomly trolling train engineer, even though somebody right before him just warned me not to talk to him, I found a small crowd of people in front of the reception. I stand in line, and as I get closer I realize that... the line is invalid. For some reason the machine to get your line number was at the front of the line, and so I get my number and... There's like 100 numbers before me, and the receptionist seems to take her good time. People are getting restless. I watch out of the windows and try to determine where I am.

Hm. Strange. I know I'm going homewards, there's no doubt about it but... where am I? I vaguely recognize myself. But surely the next station is home, I will recognize it, and it'll just fall into place. But... how does it look? When I think of it, what does my home look like? My apartment? Do I have a home?

The dream either faded into something else entirely after that or I woke up, but it doesn't really matter. This dream never goes on longer after that anyway.

What I've come to learn from this dream over the many years (more than a decade for sure) is that it seems to revolve around me getting home, but the further I go the more I start realizing that I don't know where home is and the more I start doubting if I can really find it. It feels like it's there, waiting warmly for my arrival, to embrace me in a definite end, but all memory of how it looks and smells and feels are just faded. Like a dream you really try hard to remember, the memory just out of reach.

It's either by school bus, by train, boat, car, walking, space craft perhaps, flying, or a mixture of them all. Sometimes I finally get off the first means of transportation just to go by foot, but usually when the dream lingers on and the further I get spatially in my travel the more lost and insecure I become.

Another element is that there are usually quite a lot of people around, people that I know in one way or another. People I belong with, perhaps. Usually, it's faces from kids of my childhood. Kids from school, and I didn't really know many of them very well at that time to be honest, but I had a little normal circle of friends I guess. As the trip homewards goes on, as the dream goes on, people get off at their stops. Because we're usually all going home. Each time, the crowd grows a little bit smaller, and the familiar faces are more and more replaced by unknown ones. A silence grows into what is usually found on public transportation in larger cities as nobody knows anybody except for perhaps a couple or two chatting in the back.

So by now I'm going somewhere, and I can't remember how it looks, but it feels like I've missed it even though I know I've been alert and kept my eyes open for it. I can't remember where I was supposed to get off, and I've seen all my friends get off to where they belong.

Somehow in all of this I'm rarely sad. I just feel lost. Like the answer is there, just out of reach. I really try my best to reach it or to find someone to tell me where to go, or in recent dreams use my phone's GPS (which suddenly just won't activate).

The day turns slowly to dusk. One often recurring element is that the world is sort of... overgrown. Not abnormally so, but trees are often dark green and lush, tufts of grass break through the asphalt here and there, lawns haven't been mowed in a year or two. It's almost always late spring or something.

If I don't just wake up after the dream, or dream of something else that I can't remember, the dream changes to me probably having exited my means of transportation (just because I felt it pointless to continue by it) and being confused and lost while people around me do stuff. Nothing in particular, just living their lives I guess, while I feel that time is ticking and the warmth of home and those waiting for me there is just... so far away. But what do I know; I can't even remember what it looks like. I think that in a way, I might even sometimes conclude in my dream that that place doesn't even exist.

It's not concrete. It's only abstract. A concept. And the more I try to form in my head what a concrete version of the concept would be... it won't form. Sometimes in the dream I finally know this, but in the beginning I'm always at the same starting point.

I'm tired of this. I guess these dreams aren't far from what I feel in real life.

I can't seem to hack the recipe for breaking this cycle. Once in my life the dream changed. A few years back as I was studying at the University of Skövde the dream changed for the first time in my life. I was going home at the end of the day, accompanied by new friend, and... I'm not sure I arrived at home, as in an apartment or anything, but sometime we stayed up instead of going home. Hit the town, ate some food, hung out. I don't remember that I dreamed this any larger number of times though and it returned to its old self a while after.

So... What now. What ever? Is my concept of home unrealistic? It's (usually, I guess) too abstract for me to determine if its details are flawed or realistic. I know that home for me is where I feel secure and enveloped in warmth and love. I think that pretty much sums it up. Is the concrete form of that a house with an own family? A small apartment with a dog or a cat? I'm not sure it even has to be a place, or any kind of other individual for that matter.

Something with this dream's constant recurrence tells me that there's something wired wrong in my thinking and that it's probably very cemented, so to speak. A defective circle that has fed itself over many years. Not that I'm implying that it's impossible to change it - not at all - but that it's probably very hard for me to do it on my own. I can't even see exactly where the problem lies, or which of my known problems might be the cause (or effect) of it.

Is my dream telling me that I'll never reach my goal or do I simply have faulty goals? Do I even have goals suited for me? Because honestly, I only have a concept of home, not a concrete picture of it. Sometimes I think I have one, but then it changes or fades. Am I looking for a form of finality in a world that I, from realistic thinking, know doesn't exist since everything is always evolving and on its way; in perpetual movement?

The only finality of this, physical, existence that I can think of is death. And no, by the way. I've never had such thoughts and have none now.

The only somewhat lasting continuity of this existence is existing, or life. And regardless if you're locked up inside a room or a cell for all your life, or if you're out travelling the world, your existence isn't always the same. Time passes and you change, your surroundings might change, what you want and need and feel changes. There is no absolute finality in it.

So what is home? Where is my home? Is it really a destination?

That's a very ingrained thing in my way of thinking that with perseverance and time there's a goal, a home, predefined and concrete, waiting in life at the end of a difficult road. That everything I do are steps towards it.

It's actually quite silly when I think of it. I usually see myself as a highly realistic person that makes his decisions based on logic and by weighing real options. I don't think I'm generally too pessimistic though, nor too optimistic, as I deem both extremes to be usually unrealistic. I know by experience that most problems can be solved so I usually don't get gloomy over them. Pissed off at times, yes, but I don't give up until I've either succeeded or exhausted all options.

That's not entirely true. I can't say I apply that mentality on everything, and that might be part of my problem. Or maybe more probably an effect of it.

So yes, at the tip of the tongue is the saying that "the journey is what's important and not the goal" or similar. But that implies that there is a goal.


Am I blind to what might be staring me in the face all along?

I start out my journey towards the goal home in the presence of friends. Are they, the friends in my dream, home? Another manifestation of my abstract concept of home? With them I feel that I belong, more in the dream than I've felt with any friends in real life. They usually vary from dream to dream, so they're not any certain persons in particular. I think.

Take the dreams I had for a short time while studying at the university. Some, if not all (can't remember), ended with me not going home to a place but I stayed with my friends in one way or another. I was home with them. However, the friends in my dream were mostly those I had closest to me in real life. A certain ms Rosin was one of them back then, I recall. When I dream I can't find home the people are usually mostly kids from my childhood (no particular age though, we just are and are equals).

In these dreams, the only time I feel I belong is before I realize that I don't know where I'm going, where my final goal lies. The only time in the dream I feel close to the embracing warmth of home is before I start realizing that I don't know where the warm embracing home is.

What am I looking for? Friends? Or maybe in other words, love? It's certainly more realistic than the idea of a warm (loving) embracing home as a definite place or destination.

But the kind of love isn't that of passion and romance, that's clear from the dream, but rather of acceptance. Of everyone being themselves and everybody else loving it and expecting it.

So, if the friends (or the manifestation of belonging, of being loved) aren't any people in particular, then what are they?

Painfully obviously me?


Maybe. And by me I mean what I do and what I am. I have no problem accepting myself or loving what I am and stand for, most of the time.

At the beginning of my university years I felt that I was suddenly allowed to be me much more than ever, to express myself and to be with people that expected nothing different of me and cheered me on.

Maybe then after all, doing what I love is home rather than a future goal or state. I guess that being with actual people that appreciate what I do when I do what I love wouldn't hurt, and ironically... that's not common.

That brings me to another subject. Well, at least I think so.

What if I want goals? In my mind I believe that is what makes me motivated. In reality goals haven't motivated me much so far, though. To be honest, they've mostly been only stressful and potentially been in the way. It's one thing with deadlines when working professionally at a company - they usually get me motivated more the closer to the deadline, but long term personal goals are the opposite.

Perhaps they silently become expectations instead. A goal is reached by committing and putting in great effort. An expectation is just achieving the minimum. And when a goal turns into an expectation like that, the effort still feels as great as when trying to reach a goal but if I expect to reach that goal and fail, I feel like I have let myself down. And I don't have to fail to feel that way, of course. If I subconsciously expect myself to finish and encounter resistance, I feel like I've failed.

Because of that, it's hard as hell to do anything in my spare time (which I have lots of now). I mentally block myself - not because the effort of doing something is too great, but because I expect myself to carry it through until I reach the goal. Expecting great effort in advance is a good way to kill spirits.

So what should I expect of myself?

I know that I am a good game designer, that my English and Swedish are both good, that I have good writing skills, that I understand aesthetics, that I understand programming and how all parts in games come together and how that creates limitations for all parts involved. Maybe knowing this is what makes me expect nothing less than to carry through from start to finish without hiccup (and thus completely devoid of any playful curiosity and experimentation).

So I know I suck at doing things, basically. But that's the thing. I expect myself to just do it and when I don't, which I won't from just saying "just do it", I've let myself down. The circle feeds itself indefinitely.

But yes. That's the root of some of my problems, I think. But I was better at just doing what I loved if I go back a couple of years and yet, the dream was there.


If the friends during my journey in my dream are a manifestation of home, then what are they?

Maybe they're simply a concept as well and I'm asking the wrong question. Maybe they're not the cause but the effect. So thus, maybe home is not the cause but the effect. Home is not what embraces me in warmth, but the warmth and love that causes me to feel like home.

Home for me is not in the future or someplace else, it can only be here. Where ever I am, and never anywhere else.

As an insight it feels a bit detaching in a way, but maybe I've always been just a bit too sentimental. And it might help explain why I sometimes need to be by myself. If anyone understands and loves me and lets me be me completely, it's me, which is the reason I didn't use the term "need to be alone" because that's not the true feeling.

But I still don't feel like I've come to a conclusion. I've simply asked new questions.


Maybe one small step of breaking the circle of passivity and give myself more love is to... well, do what I love. Such as playing some games that I rarely play (but love) because whenever I play them I feel guilty for the fact that I'm not doing something productive. And I can't do anything productive because my spirits are shot.