The dreams all have a common theme, that of escapism. In them, I am unfettered by the intricacies and complexities of modern life. Responsibilities are, for the most part, cast aside. There is a sense of freedom, or at least of one of the elusive definitions of what freedom could be. Also, sometimes, a sense of chaos (which can provide its own freedom, of sorts). What works in the dreams wouldn't likely work very well in waking life, but they do provide a nice diversion from the every day world.
One of the recurring dreams involves myself and my dog, Sandy. "Come on, girl. We're going where no one will find us," I say to the Beagle, her head cocked to one side as she tries to understand. We traipse through town, then reach the western-most edge of Champaign. Somewhere out there, between the city and Mahomet, is a gently sloping hill where we make our home (whether there is such a hill in real life is debatable). During the course of several dreams, I carve out an enclave within the side of the hill, Hobbit-style. Curiously, the series of dreams have never seen the fruits of my labor. I just keep digging, Sandy by my side.
Another dream is about being in a post-apocalytpic environment and, for whatever reason, being thrilled by it in some adrenaline-inducing way. It is never clear what has caused the downfall of society, but there is the sense of ever-present danger. I am on my own at first, then meet-up with others and we form a group, ala The Walking Dead. From there we encounter various scenarios and have to make tough decisions. I am constantly wanting to get back to Champaign, to find Ashley, and our house, and check on my mom, but somehow never make it back.
The final sort of escapism dream is the one where I simply pack a bag for a few days' journey, then slip away like a phantom into the night. It is not to be a permanent departure, simply a respite from the daily grind. I often arrive at a small, white, shanty-like motel that feels like it should be seaside, but usually isn't. They give me the same room each time, a small space at the top of some narrow, twisting stairs. I clamber up with my bag, arriving in the tiny space with the single bed, mirror and basin, then proceed to decompress from the world.
This final dream at the seaside shanty will often feature me eventually growing weary of the isolation of the small room, and venturing downstairs to a common area that features tables, chairs, a fireplace, and a few people scattered about. The grey-haired, bespectacled woman who runs the motel serves food in this room, and I typically find someone to talk with. For whatever reason, it is often the stereotype of a salty sea captain. We will converse, though he will do most of the talking, which I prefer.
The notion of escaping the everyday world and leaving our responsibilities behind is not, of course, unique. No doubt many of you have had similar fantasies. The aforementioned ones are mine. I'm sure that a psychologist could offer an interpretation of what it all means, but it doesn't take a degree to understand that sometimes we simply desire to cast off our liabilities and become anonymous. In the sea shanty motel dreams, the salty sea captain does most of the talking and never makes demands upon my person. That's a refreshing little dream.