THIS ALL HAPPENED SOME time ago, so I apologize in advance if I’m a little hazy on the details. I was a very different person back then, so it’s difficult to dredge it all up again like this.
Looking back, I was probably depressed in some way. On the face of it, everything seemed to be going fine in my life: I had a beautiful wife, a great job, and a young baby daughter. Everybody always told me I was so lucky. But I wasn’t really happy – deep down within myself there was always this nagging sense that something wasn’t right, that my life was just happening around me while I cruised through it on autopilot. It was like I was on rails and just going through the motions every day, doing what was expected of me, and never really being myself.
Of course, it’s hard when you’ve got a young child. All of a sudden you never get a moment to yourself, and your life isn’t your own. Don’t get me wrong, I loved her with all my heart, but sometimes, in my darkest moments, I would wonder what my life might have been if I’d made different choices. I’d even think about just running away, although I knew I’d never actually do it. It was just a notion I entertained every now and again.
I’d reached that stage in life where all your friends are settling down and having kids, and it feels like you have to book time weeks in advance just to meet for a couple of drinks or something. Like I said, I had a good job, but I was just beginning to realize that it was going to probably be my career for the rest of my working life, and if I really wanted to get the most out of it I’d have to stop marking time and start making a concerted effort, even though my heart really wasn’t in it.
So I suppose I was looking for some kind of refuge, a space in my life that was mine and mine alone, where I didn’t have to pretend and there was no-one relying on me. I guess I found a pretty strange way to do it, though: I took up lucid dreaming.
I’d always been fascinated by dreams, ever since I was a kid. My dreams were always incredibly vivid and seemed a lot more coherent than most people’s – they seemed to have more substance to them, more reality. Maybe more than my actual life had at the time. I can still remember my first lucid dream. I wish I could properly describe what it felt like, that sudden realization that everything around me was an illusion, and an illusion that was totally under my control. It was literally like becoming a God.