I didn't sleep particularly well last night... I woke up at something past two in the morning after a dream, parts of which have been recurrent for most of my adult life...
Unusually, I actually lived at the school that I attended between the ages of 8 and 18; it's not a typical upbringing and may explain why the majority of my dreams (even now) still take place in or near my old school. However, one of the recurring themes is visiting my preparatory school, which lies in the shadow of York Minster. At the time (in the late 1960s), it was the junior school of York College for Girls and the fact that I was one of only five boys in the school didn't make me any more attractive to the young girls even though, in theory, I was spoilt for choice.
I stupidly believed that not getting caught in a game of "kiss catch" was a smart thing to do... if I had my time again, I'd simply stand still, close my eyes and shout "take me"...
Anyway, these dreams involve me returning to the school many years later in the hope that I’ll be allowed to have a look round, but as much as I want to subconsciously recall the layout of the classrooms and memories of “how it used to be”, everything is different... Perhaps I want the nostalgic feeling of a time when I had no responsibilities and a future filled with hope and optimism... sadly a “feeling” is all it ever can be...
The other recurring dreams are concerned with being back at school, in my last year, with final exams looming. I'm worried because I haven't been to enough lessons or done any revision; I'm almost guaranteed not to pass and then what's going to happen to me?
Seemingly, dreams about being back at school are relatively common amongst people from almost every age group. Apparently, they can highlight childhood insecurities or the fear of an uncertain future... certainly I would acknowledge that I have a strong fear of failure. Sleep can allow you return to a time before your life path was decided... even if the road is pre-determined - I do believe in fate... but is that simply an easy option? Believing your life is mapped out is fine, but it does offer an excuse for every mistake or wrong choice.
I did reasonably well at school, 13 ‘O’ levels and 4 ‘A’ levels, but then took a really bad option for my further education. Do my dreams indicate that I subconsciously regret that choice and would my life have been different if I’d got better grades and picked another course at another university? The answer to the latter is “yes” and dramatically so, but would I want to have a life that didn’t have Elaine in it? Absolutely not and the same goes for my children so for me, the end justifies the means (even though the “journey” has been difficult...).
Curiously... bizarrely even, Elaine and I were born just three weeks and fifty miles apart, but it took over forty years for our paths to cross. Yet when I looked through her photo albums, there she was, aged about seven, pictured in York with my prep school in the background.
At that very moment, I might well have been evading kisses in the playground, but why the hell wasn’t I inside, looking out of a window desperately trying to attract the attention of my future wife..?
That would be fate, Kirbs...
All my own work... almost.