Stop Focusing On What You See In The Rearview

In the morning, as we wake up and stretch, sometimes we’ll recall a weird dream we had the night before (for me, it’s that my teeth fall out a lot). However, there was one dream I had around two years ago that taught me something that really stuck with me.

I dreamt that my twin sister and I were driving along the freeway, with me in the driver’s seat and she sat in the backseat. As we traveled along, I went to look into the rearview mirror. However, when I went to check it, the mirror was completely and utterly crooked; I couldn’t see anything except the distorted view of the traffic behind me and I started to panic.

As the dream progressed, I became fixated on adjusting the mirror. I wanted it to be perfect. I was desperate to see it clearly. I needed to assess what was going on behind me, so I could understand it; prepare for it to crash into me if the cars in front of me stopped. As I continued to mess with the mirror, my driving became erratic. I was swerving into lanes, unable to keep a consistent speed. I figured I messed up the mirror and was completely drunk on the idea of redemption, of making it better. Then my sister spoke up:

“Moll, just focus on the road ahead of you. The rearview mirror is fine. Let it go.”

It was around then that I woke up.

I never was able to fix the mirror.

There isn’t really a known reason as to why we dream. Some think it is just our neurons firing away during the night, painting random pictures between our synapses that we often write off as insignificant. To me, though, this particular dream didn’t fall under the insignificant.

This dream seemed to clearly depict the struggle I’ve had with my former self, my demons, and my past. The rearview mirror I was so keen on fixing remained stubbornly imperfect and always will be, just as will the moments that I leave behind.

We all have things we aren’t proud of. Moments we regret cumulate within our mind and take up an unwelcome residence, turning on their lights at what feel like the most inconvenient moments possible. We meet new people and accept new jobs, but the narration of our pasts try and convince us to feel undeserving; if we already had something similar, why weren’t we able to hold on? Well, to put it simply: because such is life.

We aren’t entitled to a reason for what happens to us; sometimes we will get one, but other times, it’ll evade us, simply because a reason doesn’t exist. For a while, though, we’ll mull over past events, overanalyzing every little moment, hoping that some missing variable will suddenly strike us; so that’s why that happened. That’s why she left. That’s why I didn’t land that job. To do so is only natural, but don’t let it last too long.

That mirror that my mind constructed in the night wasn’t properly aligned with where I was moving in that dream, just as my past doesn’t dictate where I travel to now. It does, however, provide a guide of where I ought not to travel, but it also reminds me of where I will always belong. And for that, I am thankful for my missteps. Sometimes, we just need to move forward. TC mark

featured image – Fabiana Zonca

Molly Burford

Writer. Editor. Hufflepuff. Dog person.

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