Monday, April 29, 2013

A Risk Worth Taking?

The other day my daughter stated, "Whoa! Listen to this. When someone appears in your dreams, it's because that person misses you!." She asked if I thought this was true. After all, it had been tweeted from @MindBlowingFacts (or some such account on Twitter). "Does the world really work like that? Does that kind of energy between people exist?" Her blue eyes were wide with hope.

Wouldn't it be nice to believe that? Wouldn't it be even nicer, if it were true? Not knowing if her declaration was rooted in a new-found crush or a renewed interest in someone from her past, and not wanting to influence any possible actions on her part that might lead to some unrequited declarations of love, I opted to answer with a left-brained approach.

First of all, I told her, if you're dreaming of someone, then most likely, it is because either YOU'RE the one that misses them, or you have unfinished business, or you have a mind that tends to wander. There is absolutely no way of knowing or proving if it is also because they miss you, unless you want to explore that possibility by sounding like a crazy person when you ask them. Second of all, dreams happen all the time, but not all of them hold much meaning. For example, the other night I dreamed about a bag of Hostess powdered donuts. Yes, Hostess Donuts. They were sitting on a small round table in front of me. And an old friend in the dream was asking me if I wanted one. I am quite certain that while I miss those bite-sized powdered donuts from Hostess, it is doubtful that they were thinking of me. Even more doubtful that the old friend had any interest in my dietary preferences or inclinations at 3am.

But my daughter can be relentless. And she wasn't impressed by my donut dream. A couple hours later she said, "Guess what, Mom. Here is another Mind Blowing Fact. If you are thinking about someone all the time, then there is an 80% chance that the other person is thinking about you, too." With a laugh, she asked me what I thought about THIS tweet -- another one from her Go-To Source for Advice on Life on Twitter.

Looking at her, I wanted to proceed with my answer carefully. With some 40+ years behind me, and some 40+ years yet to be lived by her, I wondered whom she might be thinking about. If her crush were being returned. If there were any way of finding out if this Tweeted Fact might be true.

At first, I didn't have an answer to her second question. Was it likely that the main reason you thought of one person incessantly was due to the fact that they were also thinking of you? Was fate so sadistic that two people such as this would go on thinking of each other throughout the rest of their lives, being left with the other only in their thoughts? Or would one eventually break the silence and embrace the irrationality of their obsession by trying to bridge the gap and reach out? The writer in me voiced, Sounds like a great story for fiction!

As I said before, I wondered if I could shield her from the disappointment that sometimes follows from taking risks?

No. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't. In the end, my answer was simply this. "Anything is possible." Boring, I know. And not earth-shattering in any way. But I hoped it was general enough to help her nudge open the door to opportunity, if that was what she wanted. After all, I do want her take some risks. Some risks do lead to rewards.

As writers, we force our characters to take risks all the time. Should life be any different? IS life any different? In the end, I suppose not. Because in the end, fiction is written around characters that live through situations that readers can relate to; and characters face risks that readers should ultimately understand.

Does life have risk? I hope so. Although realistically, I hope it's the least foolish ones that gain our attention. Which begs the question, Where is the risk in that?

On that, all I can say is, I have absolutely no idea. I'm hoping that my daughter's Twitter friend will have the answer. And that she will be forging blissfully through life, happy with the risks she's taking on her own.

What do you think? Where lie the limits to the power of the mind? Where lie the limits to risk?


  1. I don't know. All I can think about are Hostess donuts! See what you did? How many virtual calories are there in dreams exactly? :)
    I'm just really taken by the amount of sharing you did. My boys are 15 and nearly 19, and those moments are few and far between. When they happen, I just try and enjoy them while they lasts.
    Thanks for sharing, Shaunda. If I find out that one of my boys were dreaming of blue-eyes girls, I'll tell them to knock it off. :)


  2. I think dreaming is wonderful... and if your boys are dreaming of kind, warm-hearted blue-eyed girls, or brown-eyed, or green-eyed, then all the better. So long as they are kind. Thanks for stopping by, Jimmy! ;)