Dreams and Alarm Clocks: What Are You Missing Out On?

I’m not a morning person by any means. Us artistic types do our best work at night, and when you work a full-time job on top of that, getting up and around in the morning is a daily struggle. I’ve tried everything, even to the point of setting my alarm 45 minutes earlier than I actually want to wake up in order to allow my “snooze time.” Unfortunately, we all know how that story ends: dry shampoo, uneven eyeliner, and attempting to find ways to intravenously inject coffee to save time.

It’s especially hard when I’m in the middle of an exceptional dream. I’ve always loved the study and discussion of dreams and how they can (on occasion) bridge between the subconscious and reality. (Example: the “I dreamt I was eating a giant marshmallow and the pillow is gone” joke.) It’s typically the other way around, where something in reality affects your dreams, which is pretty common in my dreamland. Last Thursday was no exception.

So there I am last week, in the middle of my dream-laced slumber, and the Imperial March starts blasting in my ear. (Yes, my alarm is the Imperial March. I’ve found it really sets the tone well for the day.) My Dream Logic brain could only comprehend the trumpet which was somehow translated into an obnoxious fire alarm type sound… which sends Dream Tricia into a panicked frenzy. She’s running around, screaming, trying any and everything possible to make this obscene sound stop. Now, as you know, dreams are actually quite short, so I’m sure this whole encounter was less than 30 seconds – but it felt like minutes of aural agony. 

After a while, my brain kicked on enough to realize that it was John Williams rather than emergency response and I flipped over to hit snooze. A simple touch of a screen would have saved Dream Tricia from nearly having a coronary.

It’s not really surprising that the word “dream” doubles to mean our goals and aspirations. Many of them seem exactly that – something cerebral and far from reality. Just like our literal dreams, goals can come in all shapes and sizes, with all different origins and desired outcomes. From having a family to being on the big screen to climbing the corporate ladder – all of these would fall under the “dream” category.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I’m a big believer in following your dreams – I even wrote a blog about achieving them (click here to check it out) – but they can be just as detrimental to your success as not trying at all. If you get so caught up that you can’t see what’s right in front of you, you can be missing massive opportunities… and also alarm bells that you’re on the wrong path.

Think about this: Someone says to you “I really want pizza for lunch.” Now, you love pizza, you always have, so the thought gets stuck in your head. You travel a mile or so to find your pizza, but on your way, you pass three different cuisines that you’ve never tried before, you haven’t even heard of before! They look interesting, but that pie is calling your name.

Upon return, that same person who made the pizza comment has a box from one of the unknown restaurants you passed. It looks, smells, and tastes a million times better than your pizza. Your poor little slice has lost its luster and even though it tastes great, you could have gotten something better and quicker if you had been open to hearing new ideas.

Dreams are a funny thing. They can morph and manifest themselves in ways we never thought possible, but you have to be willing to hear the unthinkable. I’ve always liked the saying “we don’t know what we don’t know” and it’s particularly pertinent in this idea. Dreams are limited to what you know. Goals can be just as restrictive if we convince ourselves that’s the only way our lives can go. Life is a crazy ride, and sometimes we need to take a detour. Who knows, maybe taking a different exit can even get you there faster than your GPS predicts, and you find a hidden gem that you would have passed by.

Don’t get so deep in the dream that you can’t see the opportunities knocking. Or, in this case, the alarm ringing. There’s nothing wrong with a little change. Besides, who knows, it might actually turn out better than you’d ever imagined possible.

A Native Texan now living in the magnificent New York City, Tricia Howard is an artist gone rogue who ended up in the wonderful world of technology. With a B.A. in Theatre Arts and interests ranging from Star Wars to Opera, she brings a unique and artistic perspective to her clients and the tech world. When she’s not solving business problems, you can find her singing, painting, and doing copious amounts of jigsaw puzzles.