…and you are someone else’s dream come true.

Think for a minute which of your dreams really could have ever been a palpable thing. Not many, not any, not one. There are those of us on this earth who are here to be the supporting cast, or the dream come true for an Other. Did you think that this was going to end up being you? You never did, of course, because you are a leader, a dedicated force among those who accept their fates and settle for mediocrity.

When you step down from the stage, slip out of view, and read that you’re all the rage you might believe your dreams have come true. But, don’t let the life you live deceive you into thinking that you are the dreamer successfully dreaming, for one day you won’t wake up, but the One who is the Dreamer will, and you’ll slip further into the black abyss of the Dreamer’s forgetfulness, for her dream will be through and so will you.

…with the memories of you being present slowly being erased.

You didn’t die, at least you don’t think you did. But the evidence doesn’t lie. So-called friends that you’ve collected on social media spaces are posting memories of school and work that you thought you’d made your presence felt at. You were there, and you remember being a bit of an ass, but nobody is tagging you in their memories. This is what happens to all of us when we die, of course, and the living move on, spending fewer and fewer hours in the day to remember us as their lives are consumed with the pressing business of staying alive.

You weren’t the most sociable creature in your past lives. You skipped all the school dances, and had few teenage romances, but you are there in these memories making noise and hearing the class laugh around you as they laugh at what you said until they keep laughing, and are laughing at you.

You didn’t speak up much in class, you didn’t run for an office, or sing in choir, or protest your Bs to the teacher until he gave you As so that you could be in the top five percent, and get accepted into a great university to do great things in this world.

You didn’t pick fights or post threats of weapons to be discharged. You didn’t sell drugs or sneak out of class, much, okay, maybe a few times to smoke cigarettes in your truck during those few months you wore your hair in the fashion of a mullet. But, you didn’t keep your mouth completely shut, either. You made noise on the school drum kit, when it was set up on the stage for the talent show, and invited fellow students to join you in sneaking out of class to go to the school library and read magazines.

You didn’t get along with anyone, but nobody really hated you, either. You threw a fit when you were bullied, and the bullies would quit and make their peace with you.

You didn’t impress any of your teachers with how smart you were, because there were dozens of other kids busy doing that. Nobody wrote in a yearbook that you were most likely to do anything, though some kids whispered to your face that you were most likely to become a bum or junky.

You were terrified of being noticed, having people pay attention to you, but you hated mean teachers and especially despised lazy teachers just riding their desks to collect a paycheck. As a student, your performance reflected the overall performance of the school district itself: it wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t saintly, it wasn’t evil, it wasn’t great.

Nobody from your class remembers much about you, but then nobody from your class has gone on to do anything of note, anywhere.

…lost briefly in a state where you have completely lost touch with your identity on this earth.

You know that who you are is not the man you’ve become for the people who see you every week. It’s taken you an entire lifetime to form a personality, a character, a mode of being that you can be comfortable taking with you everywhere, raising children with, and carrying it to your grave.

But you are not the identity formed digitally and in the memories of a scant few.

Your mind drops into these states where you could be just about anybody, or nobody at all, certainly not necessarily a human.

…and it’s almost completely unbearable.

The wealth of information that is pumping into your head as you lie there, still half-immersed in a trance state. If you were able to broadcast your brain to the world at this moment, you could provide as much information as the average cable subscriber would find turning on her television at any given moment and surfing through all the channels. Which is also to say that a lot of the information is of rather poor value, it just carries with it the seeds that get planted in your emotional areas to make you feel that there must be a truly important insight waiting for you if you lie here just a little longer.

Then, you start to read a book on math or physics. Suddenly, memories of your own college days appear in your head, compounded with memories of people you knew, and people you imagine from other decades who’ve attended college, as well as all of the alternate universes in which your own college experiences might have been different at any given turn. College was completely unbearable for this reason: you were overwhelmed with choices and opportunities, and deluded into thinking that they would remain available as such for many semesters to come.

Such is the library, the Internet, your own bookshelf, your life.

Too many choices, too many opportunities, too little time. The ones you pick never seem quite right. The horror of Time getting away from you. Ages 24-30 were understandably rough, a learning process, a series of trials and errors created by a young man who was missing social skills going back fifteen or more years. But then 30-36 were supposed to be the gorgeous realization of all those hard lessons learned. And, life didn’t respond in kind. If anything, life was simply indifferent and that was the worst: not a cruel world, but an indifferent one. 30-36 passed by like nothing had happened at all. When you were 30, you looked at your 40 year-old roommate and wondered how someone could have simply breezed through their past ten years without waking up at some point and screaming “I’m closer to 40 than I am to my twenties!” and immersing himself in some kind of ultra-intense self-improvement program so that by the age of 40 he had something to show for himself: a PhD, a career, at least a kid.

But now, you get it.

You don’t grow physically in your 30s, you don’t age appreciably, your brain doesn’t continue to develop, you don’t develop many new social skills, you don’t see many movies (if any) that move you, that change the way you look at reality. Life itself offers little in the way of throwing you the kinds of curveballs that will transform you into something noticeably different–not the way childhood, adolescence and young adulthood do. Sure, there are people who are exceptions to this rule. People who fight in wars, lose children or battle a chronic disease. But, most people in your time and place of the universe accept that this is the decade where they exit it being pretty much the same person they were when they entered it.

Then, of course, life starts to change again.

The trips to the doctor have to be more frequent. The hair and face change, the gut fills out nicely. Almost everyone who is in their forties has passed the point where they’ve already lived more of their life than what they have left to live.

Then, the choices start to become fewer and fewer. At 36, they already are much less than they were ten years ago. Ten years ago, it would have been nothing to go back to school and grab a degree in math, science or engineering. Now, it’s going to be a hard slog to make a choice like this, and you’d better be ready to stick with it because you’ll be paying for it in more ways than just tuition. Of course, you’re married, so the choices have been erased in that department. Choices start to revolve around what you’re going to eat on Friday or Saturday night, and where you’ll go for vacation this year. And, that’s pretty much all people your age talk about.

Nobody discusses how they’ve picked up an old college pre-calc book and started trying to learn the math they dropped off learning, or immersed themselves in an intense study of the anatomy. There might be the sexy learning of another language like Italian, to enhance their travel experiences. This culture doesn’t think learning should continue after college. At least, not the subjects that were clearly designated as required courses to slog through to get the degree. Few people want to take the time to go back and immerse themselves on a deep dive into history, for instance, unless it is tied to genealogy or something that would make sense to discuss at a dinner party.

The fact is, the world you live in is simply not set up to encourage the continued personal transformation of the self. Once you are an adult, it’s okay to work on getting in better shape, and attending self-help seminars to do better at your job, but the idea of continuing to develop one’s brain with the kind of attitude about learning that was only briefly touched upon in college is an almost non-existent idea. Maybe it’s something for old, retired people to do, but we don’t have time for that kind of activity. Sure, we have time to read a trashy spy or romance novel while on a beach vacation, and time to take in a lot of sporting events, but time to plough through a textbook on a subject now forgotten (or never properly learned in the first place)? Forget about it.

…keeping your focus on it.

You start with this thing moving around inside your brain, and then you follow it. You imagine it darting across multiple galaxies, alternate universes, meta-realities, in and out of all the minds of people everywhere. It’s a little ball of light.

Then, you’ll bounce the ball back and forth between the hemispheres in your head.

You imagine that you are at the Guggenheim art museum again in New York. You are travelling backward in time, forward in space. You are seeing again the young man wearing the weird outfit of grey hooded sweatshirt and hockey logo, plus rolled-up stonewash jeans and hightop sneakers as if it were really fifteen years earlier. But it’s not, it’s 2010.

The years are just numbers, ways for worried men to keep score of meaningless stones thrown.

You have your ball of light.

Your ball of light is softening you everywhere that you are hard, everywhere your brain and muscles, nerves and tendons freeze up when you encounter a novel situation and start producing chemicals that age you rapidly, corroding your skin, and destroying blood vessels and hair follicles. If you can so successfully age yourself in one direction, then you can softly recede your age by producing anti-aging chemicals with your mind’s ball of light.

Your ball of light is carving up all the fat, the emotional dross that accompanies too many memories.

Six years ago, the photograph of your face in spring, all clean and still youthful. You’ve dyed your prematurely grey hair jet black and let it grow out to cover the thinning places. Inside, you are a mess of contradictions, wanting to take on the nightlife of a city by storm wearing designer label clothing, and throw about cash and have sex with lots of cocktail waitresses; but, also wanting to settle down with the right woman and start a family. Wanting to begin a life of clean, healthy living, and wanting to go get shitfaced every Friday. Wanting a job that sees you travelling all the time, and wanting to hole up in a home office and just write code.

Today’s face in the mirror is lean and crisp and focused. The lines and pockmarks and bags under eyes, and white hairs in the goatee are all earned. No need to do a dye job on your dying hair any more. You’ve earned the head of hair you keep.

The ball of light is letting you linger just long enough on the past to open up new networks in the brain, to form new connections, to keep youthful hormones pumping into organs minus the chaos those organs spin the mind into during another cycle of biofeedback.

…with a more acute understanding of what Time means to you.

It was the progenitor of all your fears, your hyper-awareness of the passage of Time and what it inevitably meant.

Every stuttery conversation with a girl who seemed halfway interested in you, every bluster in class that failed to impress anyone and usually got you shot down. Why you made fun of your little brother so much that summer. Why you slept so much during the day. Why you were afraid of playing football and joining a fraternity.

Everyone thought you were gay. It’s understandable. In a slightly revised version of your life, you might have found comfort in accepting such an identity, and joining that club.

But, you knew in your heart of hearts that you weren’t.

You were terrified of the passage of Time. Anything that smacked of being a moment that would deliver a milestone filled you with the most extreme cases of angst and depression.

As long as you remained a virgin, you could be a boy. Once you passed that threshold, there was no turning back.

The moment your little brother clearly had a mind of his own, you knew he would never be that cute little baby that did whatever you told him to. He would always pause to question your words, and that meant he’d grown up to be something more than the loveable person he first was.

You simply wanted to be in control of when, where and how all of these milestones happened, to be able to take many steps back and review objectively what was going on from different angles, to avoid being just along for the ride and accepting that what will be will be. It’s not that you didn’t want to lose your virginity, play football, and hit other milestones that would help deliver you your manhood. It’s that you wanted to have complete control over it, and ensure that the events happened exactly as you imagined they would happen.

Of course, this caused your life to get all kinds of off course from where it should have been heading. You could no more dictate every last little milestone in your life and the manner in which it would take place than hold back Time itself from sending you further and further downstream.

You recall even at the age of nine or ten looking back on recent summers past with longing and sweet ache, wishing you could relive moments again, hating that the new events unfolding didn’t quite live up to your expectation and always feeling that loss of Time taking you further away from precious memories. Every year was full of moments of this kind of sorrow, remembering a good summer or two full of happy vacation memories, now beyond your grasp.

How bittersweet, your relationship with Time!

In all manner of life activities, you’ve taken a schizophrenic, unhealthy approach, vacillating between accepting the passage of time utterly and completely and not planning at all for your future, and demanding of God the opportunity to relive pieces of your life, or at least be given true dreams that deliver accurate windows of times past. You might, with the start of a new year or a week or so out from your next birthday, begin creating dense calendars and spreadsheets of self improvement to-do lists, setting numerous impossible goals to become an impossible combination of Buffet, Einstein and an Ironman champion.

Even today, you’ll devote hours of time each week before falling asleep in the throes of well-rehearsed fantasies that provide futures of unlimited prosperity or tantalizing possibilities of what you could if your present day consciousness was dropped into, say, your eighteen-year-old body.

Naturally, at some point around the age of 30, your fantasies of impossible futures began to happen less and less, while your fantasies of alternate realities created from relived pasts began to grow more and more. Time had finally gotten the better of any notion that you’d be a trillionaire king of the universe by age 32, and was doing a bang up job of proving that you probably don’t have some locked-away portal in your mind that will enable you to become virtually a god of this spatiotemporal universe.

But, that hasn’t stopped you from wanting to understand more perfectly how your memories work. How it is that you can, at any time you wish during your conscious state, conjure up a memory from any year after age three, but the memory is not a crisp, HD picture like in a dream. But, dreams, though they may deliver audiovisuals that are much more realistic, the actual content of dreams is always screwed up, irrational, and full of utter falsehoods.

You’d give just about anything to be able to have access to more of your true memories, and see them in a much clearer fashion, and gladly do away with all of your nonsense dreams whose meaning has never amounted to much of anything of value.

The one interesting thing to note is that in your dreams, no matter how you look in a mirror, or how you are dressing or who you are forcing yourself to be, you are always you, and everyone in dreams, no matter how fictional they are, always recognize you for being you and nobody else. Whereas in the waking life, and in so many of your so-called true memories, you’ve constantly bumped up against the utterly frustrating experience of having the person you’re interacting with misunderstand you to the point that you might as well be someone else the way that they treat you.

Why is this?

That you can be treated by others like a coward, a fool, a clown, a moron, etc. in the waking life, but other people in dreams always treat you like the man (the entity) you know you are, from an early age until even now. But, dreams are otherwise moronic and foolish, irrational in their insistence on claiming things exist that don’t.

This is an aside, and should be treated separately. The whole goal here is to be able to obtain access to areas of the brain that lie dormant, many of which you probably shut down in your adolescence in an effort to be cool by being foolish, and many more you shutdown in your early adulthood in your effort to be cool by being drunk all the time.