The man of my dreams

I had this dream not last night, but the night before, that left me mildly disturbed when I woke.

The details of the dream mean little. Basically, I was on my way to a wedding, somehow got dunked in the surf, and then met an attractive blonde woman in a bikini I utterly charmed. What seemed meaningful was the man I appeared to be in the dream.

He was me; I was him…but he was an optimised version of me. He was handsome and witty and very charming. He was fit and tanned and well-groomed, even after taking a dunk. He was supremely confident and in control, and people clamoured to him. He had a great presence, and everyone loved him for being a fun guy and a good man.

He had all the attributes I possess, but dialled up to the max, as if I had spent a month being prepared to become this person – primped and preened, tailored and groomed, made fit and healthy, and all my worries disposed of.

If I was ever that man, then we parted company about 20 years ago. I still have many of those qualities, but the years have diluted them. I was a 10 on every measure in the dream, but in life now, most have been dialled back to about 6, and my pre-eminent quality – self-possession – is now a fragile thing.

Still, I could see myself in him, especially in his wit. After he got bowled over in the surf, he absolutely wowed the woman who came to his assistance – witty and smart and very alluring. It was my style of wit, words I could easily have spoken – but without the force or confidence of the man in the dream. It was no wonder the woman fell for him – I thought him a rum fellow myself.

What disturbed me is that the dream seemed to taunt me: this is what you could have been. It felt as if it was rubbing my face into my middling existence. It was a pointed finger – how did you manage to lose this possibility?

I choose to believe that man is in me now – not lost, but dormant. That’s how I turned it in my mind. Not as something that might have been, but something that still could be. That was my challenge. Be the man in your own dreams.

It’s my birthday today, and it seems an apt occasion to set myself. If not now, then when?

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