Do you ever wish you could record your dreams and play them for others so they can experience the event just like you did? I have a history of vivid dreams and a history of explaining them in such detail that my unsuspecting victim goes cross-eyed trying to keep up. I had one such dream the other night.
Dylan, Kendall, Taylor and I were on an airplane. Taylor and I had just come back from the bathroom and hadn’t had a chance to buckle our seat belts. The plane started to jerk wildly. After struggling I couldn’t buckle our belts so I hung on to Taylor tightly and tried my best to hang on to my arm rest. I remember feeling desperate to protect her while bracing for the impact I knew was coming. The nose of the plane took a deep and sudden dive. This is where I would love to show you a video. It was terrifying and amazing all at once. I could see the ground coming toward us quickly. And I again braced for an impact—an impact that never came. We landed softly in a pool. For a moment it seemed that the cabin had filled with water. I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t sure how long I could last without air and I wasn’t sure how long Taylor, who at this point had turned into a naked infant, could last under water. I was holding my breath in my sleep. Suddenly I realized that the cabin was full of air and I could breathe. Taylor and I were escorted to a window that exited onto a water slide. We slid down and landed softly in a warm pool where the lifeguard was busy ensuring swimmer safety and the swimmers were enjoying themselves barely taking notice of the giant plane now occupying their space. I caught my breath, thankful to be alive, and commented that the plane crash was something I needed to experience.
Why do I share this story with you and why do I think my mind reassured me that surviving a plane crash was necessary even if it was an imaginary plane crash? Because I’ve been struggling; struggling with anxiety and living in fear that something bad will happen at any moment. It’s not something new for me—this anxiety burden. In fact, it’s something I’m quite familiar with. I’ve always jumped if my phone rings after 9 p.m. My family and friends know better than to call me after my bedtime. They know how I panic.
Having kids has made it worse, especially at night. I usually let the cat outside at around 3:00 a.m. When I open the door, look out into the dark night and see the stars I panic. When I think about the fact that our time on earth is just a mere blip in time I feel overwhelmed and insignificant. I try to calm myself down. I remind myself that death is not something to fear. I don’t really fear my own death. I fear losing people before I’m ready for them to go. And will I ever really be ready for someone I love to go? Probably not.
Recently I read this blog post. “7 year-olds sell sunglasses at 11 p.m.” and “children stay up until two in the morning”. Clearly I need to relax. It reminded me that allowing my anxiety to live inside me is preventing me from truly living and may be preventing my kids from experiencing life in the way they are meant to—not that I want them selling sunglasses at 11 p.m. Dylan and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on Saturday. I arranged to have my mom watch the girls. She asked if she could have the girls overnight. I said no. Why? Because I think about fires and escape routes and not being there to make sure they are okay every minute of the night. So my mom missed out, my girls missed out and I missed out on a night alone with my husband.
All this to say, I don’t know how to fix this. But one thing I know for sure, living my life in fear of something terrible happening is no way to live. After all, even if something bad does happen, you never know what kind of soft landing will await you on the other side. It may be like taking a nose dive into a warm pool and finding a water slide to help you down gently. But worrying about it is simply a waste of time.