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Empty Shelves

So we survived October. Actually, October was awesome, there was just a little too much of it! There’s a fair bit to catch up on, but I’m going to start with something odd: a dream.

I am not someone who often remembers dreams, and when I do they are usually mundane or pure brain junk. There’s rarely any meaning to be sussed out, with one notable exception. Ever since I moved into my house, I’ve had a recurring (once a year on average) dream about my basement.

In reality, my basement is half finished and half unfinished, and is just large enough to hold tools, my washer and drier, a desk, band equipment, a couch, and some bookcases. The people before me finished it roughly themselves and used it as a second living room, but we haven’t used it for anything that nice and won’t be any time soon, especially given the state of the carpet and ceiling tiles.

But the basement in my dream? It’s crazy. It’s at least twice the size of my actual house and is filled with potential. It has two kitchens—really! two—a spacious¬† living area, two huge bedrooms, two huge bathrooms (with ugly colored fixtures, but still . . . ),¬† and an office. I’m always both excited and daunted by the discovery of these rooms. On the one hand, there’s so much space to be had, but on the other hand the rooms represent a huge amount of work to be useful.

Because the other thing about the secret rooms in my basement is that they are cluttered. The people who lived in them before didn’t pack up anything before they left. I’m left with old lumpy mattresses, dishes I don’t want, dusty old furniture, and worst of all, thousands and thousands of books, most of them in technical fields other than mine or Matt’s. Enjoying these rooms was always going to require a dumpster and hundreds of man hours, hours I didn’t have at the time. Plus, I somehow felt responsible for getting the books back to their owner, even though he left them behind.

So in the end, I always walked upstairs feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the task at hand and closed the door behind me. What the heck could this mean? Was this a dream about untapped potential? About a new adventure? And if so, what did it say about me that my response was to shrug and walk away? The one time I asked a friend who’s studied a bit about dream interpretation, he focused on all the mess and the sense of burden, skipping the metaphors of potential:

“I don’t think you need Jung here. You are sick of dealing with other people’s stuff and feel overwhelmed by it.”

Was I? I didn’t and don’t know.

Two nights ago, the dream returned. There I was, staring at the same huge but odd kitchens, wandering into the room with the lumpy king bed and the room with the lumpy twin beds, wondering why anyone would choose a red bathtub, etc. I saved the office with the floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookshelves for last. This time, though, when I walked in, the office was clean. Empty shelves, clear desk, ready to be used.

What the heck does that mean? Is this about Simon being more independent and me having more time for my own projects? Is this a metaphor that my brain is now literally empty? Or, literal person that I am, is it just reflecting that I’ve spent several months clearing out my house, including hundreds of books, and no longer feel over-burdened by clutter. I’m guessing it’s the latter, and it motivates me to get going on my shed, basement, and dining room closet. But I am happy to entertain other theories as well. Go head and tell me! I just hope it’s not that I’m empty-headed.

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