Living the dream


Laura Cox, Guest Columnist

When people ask me what I did Friday night, I always resist the urge to tell them what I was actually doing and shrug it off with a, “Nothing.” Because while some students are binging Netflix or sleeping over at a friend’s house, I usually am asleep.

But I’m not just lying there lazily; when I’m asleep, I’m busy saving the universe, studying for a test, or flying through space. I have the wild ability to live two lives: in this reality, I’m an unassuming high school student; in the other, I’m a benevolent dream-realm overlord.

Which is all a very long-winded way of saying I can lucid dream. But not just typical lucid dreaming, where you’re aware that you’re dreaming and maybe you can change a thing or two. In the dream realm, reality is mine for the molding.

I’ve always had a strong imagination. I remember standing in my driveway at five years old and realizing that if I focused hard enough, I could recreate the taste of an apple in my mouth. My brain has no trouble artificially creating senses while dreaming, either. While this is all good and well when tasting a chocolate cupcake or petting a fluffy dog, it’s not so great when I’m getting stabbed or falling into lava.

When I was a kid, it was a lot of the latter. My imagination created scenarios that were frighteningly real, and I didn’t have the power to change them. A lot has changed since then.

There I am, in a dark, brush-filled field, as the moans of zombies trigger my brain’s “fight-or-flight” response. I’m going to pick flight, obviously, because zombies are super scary. But wait—this is a dream. That changes the game; fight is now on the table.

Rule one: everything in the dream realm takes focus. I can do literally anything I want in the dream realm if I stop and focus hard enough.

With focus, I could grab my golden sword from my personal pocket dimension, hold it to the sky, and make lightning strike me and give me superpowers.

But even with my sick lightning powers and great power suit (it has a skirt!), that’s a lot of work.

Rule two: work smarter, not harder (also applies to real life).

I only have a few hours (the typical amount of time one can dream in a night) in this dream! Over the course of my life, I’ve developed “dream hacks,” which make my dream life easier. My favorite is my portal manager, Carl. Sure, I could teleport or make my own portal, but that takes time and effort, which are two things I don’t have in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

So, I call out to Carl (whom I’ve never seen or spoken to but whose emotions I am aware of), and he makes one for me. I jump through the portal and get the heck out of there.

After going through the portal, a small part of me worried that the zombies would follow me. I knew I had to stop thinking about zombies immediately. Why?

Rule three: confidence is key.

If you believe it’ll happen, it will; but that goes both ways. If you think the zombies are gonna show up, they’ll find a way, just like if you believe you can play the guitar, you can rock out by simply strumming aggressively. I can’t play dream piano very well, though, because I know just enough about piano that I don’t believe in myself.

When I search for the secret lab where the zombie cure is hidden, I don’t actually know where it is, but I pull out my mini navigation and just believe that I’ll make it there—and I do. How else would I retrieve the medicine and save the day?

Rule four: The dream realm is limited only to your imagination.

Sometimes, if it’s taking too long to cure the zombies with science, I’ll just do it with my magic healing powers.

Or maybe I’ll shoot fire at them from my palm. Or summon my spy motorcycle that’s also a submarine. Or eat the ever-present jelly bean in my pocket that gives me super strength.

The point is I’ve done it all: built tech with Tony Stark; fought Zeus with Percy Jackson; attended Hogwarts; and crafted my own storyline with my own dream characters (shout out to my mermaid homies).

I guess the only question left is: with this new power, what will you do?