The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on December 9, 2010.

I had a weird dream the other night. I was talking with someone who looked like an NFL linebacker, but he was actually a basketball player. He said, “Tell your daughter that she’ll be alone a lot when she’s on the road. Make sure she’s prepared for that.”

I told him it wouldn’t be a problem, because my daughter does a lot of work by computer and is used to being alone when she works. On the road, she’d have her laptop with her and that would keep her from getting lonely.

“Okay,” he said, nodding. “She should be fine, then.”

I felt grateful and reassured, and also proud that he was talking as if my daughter were already a pro basketball player traveling with the team, when in reality – my dream’s reality – she had just finished school and was still “auditioning” for a job with a pro team.

It’s the kind of dream from which I woke up and wondered, “Where did THAT come from?” Both the dream itself and the elements that were in it. I spent a few minutes thinking about it and analyzing it, which is something I love to do when I wake up from a dream as vivid and intriguing as this one.

My daughter played soccer when she was little, and rugby for two years in high school. But she’s more artistic than athletic, and has never been interested in basketball as far as I know. However, since we’re in the middle of both football and basketball season, and since my husband and I are Chicago transplants who still watch and cheer for the Bears and the Bulls, that’s where the sports influence could have come from.

Her spending a lot of time working alone and on the computer is rooted in real life, since my daughter is a writer and graphic designer. But her work doesn’t involve travel, and since she’s getting married in April, being alone or lonely isn’t an issue that she’s struggling with right now.

At this point, I remembered something I read a while ago – that all the characters in our dreams really represent ourselves. That gave me a whole new focus on the dream.

It was easy to see the “me” in the dream as myself in real life. But I have a hard time envisioning myself as a pro basketball player or an NFL linebacker. Still, I can recognize in that person the concern I have for my daughter, plus my desire to give her advice and to make sure she’ll be okay. Especially as she’s getting established in her career and as she’s preparing to be married. And even more so as she’s doing all of this so far from home. Or rather, as she’s doing it from Florida, which is her home now.

There’s one more person involved in the dream – my daughter, even though she wasn’t actually present in the dream. If she, too, represents a part of me, then I have to wonder if the advice given was advice that was meant for me, and that I need to take.

I’ve never worked at a job for which I was “on the road” very often. But in the last few years I’ve traveled to different parts of North America for classes, conventions, workshops and training. I’ve enjoyed the traveling, and one of my dreams – the wide-awake kind – is to visit different parts of the country and the world doing the work I am now doing from my own little corner of the globe. Perhaps the dream I had the other night was really a message from myself to myself, encouraging me to pursue this but reminding me that it’s not all about packed stadiums and cheering crowds. Being away from family and friends back home is part of the equation, as is the quiet, lonely work that goes on behind the scenes. But like my daughter in the dream, I’ll be fine with that. I know the difference between being alone and being lonely. And I have a laptop, too.

I can’t wait to tell my daughter about my dream. I’ll enjoy hearing whatever reactions and insights she might have. But most of all, I’ll enjoy telling her what this nighttime dream allowed me to see clearly in the light of day – that in my eyes she’s already a star. That she’s going to be fine, in her life, in her marriage, and in her career. And that I hope – especially if they’re anything like the one I had the other night – that all her dreams will come true.

© Betty Liedtke, 2010