Dreaming of Memories: What Really Happened?

Some say that each time we think of a memory, we recall it differently. The more we pull a certain memory into conscious thought we crease the pages differently; we change the color of a dress, the punch-line of a joke, or the liquor that was in our glass. That memory from our childhood that brings us such intense nostalgia may have been far less significant than our ever changing memory dictates.

Those of us that remember our dreams often recall real life moments mixing with fiction. I often dream of vacations or insignificant moments in my past that seem to hold much more meaning when I wake. The two worlds intermingle so often that I sometimes find that I cannot remember if a memory is "real."

Lately, I've had trouble achieving lucidity while dreaming. I often get to the point where I am aware of my dream state and question myself, but can't seem to pull myself into awareness. I forget to use my lucid trigger; to look at my hands in order to remind myself that I am dreaming. However, this frustrating lull has turned into a surprisingly pleasing trip down memory lane. I've been dreaming of moments I had previously considered insignificant, moments I haven't even thought about or remembered in years; perhaps moments I would have never remembered for the rest of my life.

Recently, I dreamt of a snowy night from my childhood, in the backseat of a car with my parents up front and my sister beside me. We had just come from Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes, and I rested my head on the car door while we drove home. There were a few obvious variations; the drive was only a few moments, and I wasn't a child but my current 29-year-old self. I now feel sentimental when I recall this hybrid memory, but I can't be sure whether it really happened the way I now believe. Was it snowing? Were we driving home after dinner instead?

Keeping note of these memories/dreams makes me wish I could have been a more meticulous journalist in my young age. I would then be able to draw distinctions between what I remember then versus now. However, the "now" is a fusion between my memory of my dream the night before and what I believe I remember from my past, not knowing which one manipulates the other.

Thinking about our past is a common if not daily occurrence. We're always convinced that reflection equals a deeper understanding. Dreaming about a memory, you relive that moment and amplify the romanticism while tossing in a few addendums for good measure.

While I patiently wait for my next lucid dream, I can't help but enjoy these sentimental moments from my past. Perhaps in another 20 years I can look back on my current journals to draw distinctions between my future dreams and my present reality.