People have told me that they rarely dream, and when they do, they do not remember their dreams. I have never been one of those people. I dream almost every night and remember most of them vividly the next morning. Sometimes they’re prophetic, sometimes there are those repressed thoughts that Freud theorized. When my health is declining, nightmares are of abundance. For the last two nights, an old friend popped up in my dreams and nightmares.
I’ve been fighting a minor cold, so it’s no surprise that I’m having nightmares. What is strange is that this old friend (who I am no longer friends with) is floating around in my unconscious. I am grateful that we no longer have a relationship because I can clearly see now that we were codependent.
In the first dream, my friend and I were taking the train in the city. On the ride, there was a group of young college kids wearing tuxedos. Naturally, I was curious so I started talking to them and found out they had just come from a ballet in which their friend was dancing in. We had a great time getting to know these folks.
In the second dream, we were having a party. This became a nightmare because everything went wrong. Guests were arriving and there was no food, not enough seating, and my friend kept inviting more people! I was overwhelmed and trying to pick up the pieces for her as usual.
What was my unconscious trying to tell me?
I have been thinking a lot about the city because it’s the subject of a few projects I’m working on. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been back to my old haunts and I have been feeling very nostalgic. The trouble with nostalgia is that we like to see what we want to see. We like to remember the past as something magical, perfect, and positive. We like to forget all the bad stuff and pretend that it never happened.
When I think of my best memories of the city, my former friend is in many of these images. We had a lot of fun, good times, and unique moments that I shared with no one else. With that, there were also awful moments that I do not want to experience again.
As much as I would like to see the city in a certain way, perhaps my dreams are a word of caution: beware of romanticizing the past or you’ll risk becoming a preservationist! Okay, maybe it’s not so dramatic, but it would be a good idea to take another look at my map if I see myself on the path to nostalgia.