This week is my (Steve’s) birthday, and while I don’t normally post whatever I want, I’m giving myself the rare gift of self-indulgence and posting WHATEVER THE HECK I WANT TO. So, here is a little story about a dream I had.
To set the scene, I’m in the old west, adorning a thick long mustache, an Austin-style wide-brimmed fedora (think beaver skin flat-brimmed cowboy hat) and riding chaps, with a 6-shooter on my hip, galavanting around with two men wearing pretty much the same thing, one with a yellow shirt (we’ll call him Yellow Ted) and one with a shirt that seemed to at one time be white (we’ll call him White Neil). Our goal, or drive, in this dream, was to get to some type of treasure outside of an old town. It felt like what a West World scenario would be should it ever come to fruition. We adventure through the desert on horseback looking in caverns and valleys, most of which I can’t really remember due to it being a dream and not actual memory until we happen on a hole in the ground next to a giant cliff face. We climb down into a somehow well-lit cave where we find the treasure we’ve been searching for, perfectly stored in old treasure trunks like you’d see in an Indiana Jones movie or the old Diablo computer game. We hitch the trunks, filled with our presumably golden loot, to a western-style carriage and one of the men I’m with, White Neil, turns on us, claiming the treasure is his and he’s willing to kill us both should we try to get away with or without the treasure. This is where my anger sets in, I draw my six-shooter and kill White Neil on site (obviously I’m a great shot in my own head). I have no remorse for this man, and simply hop up in the front of the carriage with the yellow-shirted man and ride off towards town.
During this ride, I am in the front steering the horses, while Yellow Ted is seated behind me with the trunks. As we get closer to town, I can feel the thought of his betrayal mounting. I know in my head and in my heart that he will attempt to kill me before we make it back with our riches, taking not only the treasure we had searched and fought for, but my life. This feeling of pure terror mounts as we ride in my dream. I feel myself riding closer to death even though I have no idea when or where it is going to occur.
We finally get to the edge of town where we slow down, get off of the carriage, and start walking somewhere in town, I'm assuming to find a place to store our new-found riches. Yellow Ted is just a few steps behind me at all times. In my head, I’m begging and pleading that Yellow Ted keeps his gun at his hip and his finger away from the trigger, hoping the impending betrayal won’t come to term. The feeling of helpless in the face of death fills my entire body. This is when I hear it. A gunshot, from behind. I fall to the ground unsure of where the bullet has hit until I feel a warm ache coming from the back of my head. The man in Yellow had shot me in the back of the head with, what my brain figures out, must be a very shoddily made bullet from the western era, meaning it had splintered upon firing leading to more of a shotgun style impact on the back of my skull. My vision starts to blur and I watch the silhouette of the yellow-shirted man start to walk away.
I start to panic. I’ve been shot in the head, I am in pain, but somehow not dead. How is this possible? My dreaming brain then time warps me back to this century and I’m in a hospital bed, still with the injury. The doctors say they are worried that if I go to sleep, there is a 70% chance I won’t wake up again, meaning now I am in a rare position where I can use my remaining awake to call those I need to say something to or risk never talking to them again. My parents show up, mom crying, dad unsure of what he is seeing. My aunts and uncles fly in, visit every couple of hours (or what I could assume was a couple of hours based on how far away they all live in real life). I then asked them to give me some time to call my friends, the ones that have no idea I'm dying, to let them know that we may never have the chance to speak again, and share my thoughts on who they are as people and to thank them for the roles they played in my life.
This was easily the most intense and real dream I’ve had in months. The pain was real, the feelings felt incredibly real, and the conversations were some that I guess deep down I feel I need to have, but won’t commit to unless time is running out.
Why am I posting this you ask (other than being self-indulgent)? How is this relevant to anything else on this website? To ask that you do something for me. Every year on my birthday I look back on the past year, and previous few years to think about where I’ve been, the people I’ve loved, and moments that have shaped my path and myself into who I am today. Taking stock in who you are, the people in your life and what each person means to you is important. It makes you appreciate the roles others play in your life and the role you play in theirs. This year I was forced into this reflection by my subconscious, which made it more terrifying and emotionally exhausting, that said, I feel that if I would more proactively perform this ritual, perhaps twice a year at least, I would find myself being more fulfilled, and more appreciative to myself and to those around me. So for my birthday, I am asking you, the reader, to do this for yourself. Take 30 minutes out of your day to think back and identify and appreciate the moments and the people who have made your life what it is. Maybe go as far as calling some of those people just to chat and reminisce. I believe that a good man keeps his past lessons and motivators in mind as he moves through life because it forces him to maintain perspective and be more intentional with his relationships, his choices, and his self-image.
Thanks for reading,