Ever have that dream where you have a house you forgot you had? Or rooms you forgot were there, or a guest house in the backyard you just remembered you can use as your hideout? I had a dream like that last night, but it wasn’t the usual sort.
I was returning to a house where I lived but felt like I hadn’t visited in awhile. So excited to be there, I ran across the lawn and up to the front door where I paused momentarily because I knew the doors were locked. Yep, I thought, trying the doorknob. Not getting in today. But then, wait a minute, I had my keys in my right coat pocket after all. I hurried around to the side door after a short debate with myself over which door I should take.
The house was a two-story, like one of those newer style houses popular in the last thirty years (not too vague a description, is it?), but when I entered through the driveway door, I was back in the downstairs hallway of my childhood bi-level home in New Jersey. My current cat Ally was there, and I briefly considered how long she had been waiting on me, since it felt like awhile since I’d last been home. From time to time I have sick dreams like that, in which I have a baby I’ve been forgetting to feed. The child or pet is usually fine — I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t — but it’s always a defining moment when I realize that huge responsibility I’ve been shirking. When I started learning how to decipher dreams, I decided this recurring theme was an indication that I’m not taking care of myself in my waking life. And it’s true.
This week hasn’t been more difficult than any other, I guess, but I have been more tired than I usually am. As part of a New Year’s resolution to finish the novel I’ve been editing for more than four years, I first joined my writing group’s 31-day January challenge to make a goal of writing every day and then, to encourage myself along, volunteered to host weekday online writing sessions from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. I’ve accomplished all but one, so far, and it’s been awesome. I’ve written/edited a lot and enjoy having that early-morning time when there’s nothing else going on that requires my attention. Nothing except for sleep. Getting to bed by 9:15 at night is great in theory, but making it happen is a different story, especially on days when I work later than I’d like to and don’t get home until 9 p.m. (Thursday).
A solution might be moving the writing sessions to, say, 8 to 10 p.m., but there tend to be more obstacles to overcome at night. I never have anything between 5:30 and 7:30 a.m. to get in the way of writing time. Nobody ever calls that early, and my husband is usually still asleep. By all accounts it’s a perfect plan — until a migraine strikes.
That’s the challenge, isn’t it? … balancing what I have with what I want, and deciding how reasonable it is to expect these things to balance out.
Finding out I have a bigger house than I realized is a combination of inspiring and depressing. When I wake, I wish I had the dream house, but then I tell myself I already do — if I use what I have wisely. It’s all there somewhere, hiding behind doors I have yet to open.