I had a dream last night. I don’t normally have much recollection of the content of my dreams, but I remember last night’s. The dream was kind of petty for this particular dream to be the dream I remember. It went like this, I was golfing with some friends, it was fall and their were multi-colored leaves all over the ground. It was a rainy fall day. The bit I remember clearest happened right at the end. I went up to putt and there was a ball in my path. One of my friend’s balls was right in my way. Instead of waiting for him to mark it (and I was aware in the dream that that is what should happen) I whacked his ball off the green into the trees. I missed my putt, it rolled past the hole and curled to the left. I walked over to it and went to line it up again, when I noticed another friend’s ball in my path again. I treated this the same way as I had the first, sent it off into the trees. Then I woke up.
I am sure I could read a ton into the symbolic gesture of sending my friend’s balls off the green. I am quite confident that a psychiatrist would do a number on me, perhaps sedate me, certainly we would be planning years of therapy. My take away upon waking and the feeling I still have this morning, is that I was a jerk in that dream. Now perhaps I haven’t captured the internal feelings as I launched their balls, because for me it wasn’t about beating them, it was funny to me, in the dream. That doesn’t help my jerk feelings this morning though. what kind of guy thinks it is funny to do that to a friend. Oh I get that it was a dream and I get that friends play jokes on each other. The thing for me is that I am a jokester. I play jokes on others. the event in the dream didn’t happen, but it could have, it is exactly the sort of thing I would do. That is what is troubling me this morning.
I think I may be a jerk. If any of my friends read this they will laugh, “oh you are they might say.” I don’t know if I have ever felt it that overwhelmingly though. Waking up from that dream, I realized I don’t want to be that guy. Real change in oneself is hard, it takes time and commitment, and it produces mediocre results and a great deal of frustration and backsliding. I just don’t want to be the guy who always does the jerk joke. I thought, as i woke up, “Wow you are not nice.” I want to be nice, and if that seems too far away, I want to be nicer. I have a lot of nice friends, so I know what it looks like, and it does not look like me. The question is, can it? Can I be nicer? I think I can, I know I want to, I get the challenge.
See, I will be trying to do this, within my everyday life, so the same things that always prompt jerky behaviour will be happening. I will be reinforcing bad behaviour even as i strive to not do those things. My friends will expect the bad behaviour. It will take years before the different me is seen regularly, and much longer until that guy is acknowledged (if ever) by those friends. The thing is, I won’t be doing it for them. I don’t want to have that dream again. i don’t want to reflect on the person I am and say, “Jerk.” Today, I would settle for, “less of a jerk.”
I want to be different, I want to dream about helping others, being kind to others, I want to do that and wake up and think, “yep, that is who I am, no one will be surprised if I act that way”.
This may take a while, I’ll have to get back to you on my progress.