Dreamed up: what if you have achieved everything?

Our author is only in her mid-40s, but has achieved everything she ever set out to do. Really nice for her. But: And now? Is she poking around in the dark for new goals

From a purely technical point of view, I’m a nerd before the Lord. If I accept something or plan something, then I do it too. I never procrastinate. Don’t have Facebook, don’t know any internet memes, and find streaming series zero satisfying. All wasted life, I think. So I don’t use it. Very easily. At least for me.

Dreamed up

Instead, I’ve already done a lot, traveled the world, been everywhere I ever wanted to go on every continent, raised a fabulous child and lived with him and half a dozen friends in a house with a garden. Purest Bullerby. I have a dream job, can work whenever and wherever I want, and live exactly as I always imagined. Do you hate me already? That’s okay, because there is a catch to the whole thing. When I turned 40 a few years ago, I discovered that I no longer have dreams, but statistically, I have as many years of life ahead of me. So where do I get new dreams from?

The big internet search engine spits out the “SMART method”. The five letters stand for the qualities that a goal needs. It has to be specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timed. Pah! I already live like that. I don’t get any further with this because I don’t want realistic goals. I want unrealistic dreams that I can indulge in for the next few decades.

The party in Japan

The key to this is probably buried deep in my subconscious. Just how do I get there? Maybe about my nightly dreams. One goes like this: I’m in Japan and I want to go to a party. However, I don’t want to go there with my roommates, I really want to ride my bike all by myself. It’s a very realistic dream, I’m as stubborn in it as in reality. On the way I notice that the addresses on Google Maps are only given in Japanese characters. I don’t understand So I try to find people who can mediate between the characters and me. I always wake up before I get to the party.

What could the dream mean to me? Don’t get lost, slow down? Could the party be interpreted as a goal in the future that I will not achieve – because I insist on taking the bike, which has practically created an obstacle for myself? Or should I work on not getting in my own way in the future? All very hypothetical. Therefore I decide: dream interpretation is not for me. But maybe reading coffee grounds.

Of course, I understand that my problem is pure luxury

There are plenty of women on eBay classifieds who offer their services, but there seem to be different schools and ideologies in this interpretation discipline. A woman I write to wants to know what concerns me. “I have fulfilled all of my dreams and wonder what now?” I write. She replies that I should just be happy, she would only deal with the hard cases with real problems. I understand that my problem is pure luxury, but I just love the change, arriving somewhere and indulging in the status quo, that doesn’t belong in my life repertoire. I write to a second coffee grounds reader who explains to me that the technology is only suitable for yes / no questions, for everything else I would have to let her divine me. That costs extra.

Two birds in love

Only the third woman doesn’t need anything from me beforehand. In a long message, she explains how I should pour the coffee and drink it, think of a question or a request and then turn the cup over onto the saucer. I’ll send her a dozen photos of my result. She complains that the powder was too coarse, but still looks at what she can see: “Your heart is very black about one thing.” I think: Sure, otherwise I wouldn’t have contacted her. My question about coffee is very good and I will have an answer in four weeks. Unfortunately, I only have three weeks before I have to submit this text. She sees two birds in love, “you are in love or you love your job or your hobby”. All three are correct. “You broke up with someone in the past and it still affects your life.” Well, who hasn’t broken up with anyone when they are over 40?

But I also notice how a little bit of my cynicism disappears with each utterance you make. She says, “You’ve been hurt badly lately by someone, but it will be over in 40 days.” I wonder what “lately” period is. And then she also says: “You are sitting at home and are desperate about one thing, thinking about all the paths you can go. It would be better if you wait a little longer, the paths will open by themselves.” I feel caught out.

But I would like to look to the future.

No, I do not believe in reading coffee grounds, I am a completely unspiritual person. But I feel that these sentences make me think. It does something to me, gives me a look back at my life that is neither factual nor objective nor rational. It’s just a look into the past, but I want to look into the future.

In my head, these dreams that I am looking for are like a ball that is now moving slightly, but not quite getting started yet. I keep searching. I come across Verena Mayer-Kolbinger online. She is a creative coach, her website is called Sicht-anders.de, where she offers, among other things, vision coaching, in which you develop a – logically – vision for the future together with her. Funnily enough, this program is designed as part of an anti-procrastination workshop where people learn to tackle their projects, goals and dreams. I ask her if she would only do this one dream-related unit with me for this experiment.

trip to the past

In order to arrive at a vision, I should first think about my past again: What was I like as a child? How did I want to be? Verena sends me a questionnaire that I should fill out intuitively, so write what comes to mind first. And I think of all sorts of unexpected things: “I want to be radical, but I’m only consistent”, “I’m the big sister”, “I am a mother and want to be human”. With this collection of statements I am going to Karlsruhe, where I meet Verena in her studio and we discuss what I bring with me from my past and what I am: analytical, consistent, curious, creative, constructive, pragmatic, cheerful.

Then she puts a pile of magazines in front of me. I’m supposed to rip out everything that triggers me – positive and negative. Very quickly, without thinking big. Verena gives me post-its with which I am supposed to mark three of my tears that touch me, but which I think I could not do what you see there.

First post-it: I admire the woman who does action painting with coal. And – second Post-it – I am fascinated by the woman who stands lasciviously in the sun in front of a house and looks as if she doesn’t want anything other than to be looked at. I also mark the picture of a magician showing an agonizing show smile while he is performing his tricks. It triggers foreign shame in me. But what do these three images have in common? A certain physical expression, says Verena: “You admire sensuality, at the same time there is something in you that prevents you from being sensual yourself.”

I think so. Dancing is also a form of physical sensuality and I love to dance for my life. In my room, in the disco, on the platform waiting for the train. Alone, with others – but only for me. Just like the action painting woman paints for herself. I think I could. The magician and the woman in front of the house, on the other hand, present themselves to others. That’s what makes me uncomfortable.

I have to think of my childhood, our entire family life was a performance for others. And behind it: pure chaos. To me this display is a bit of a fake, but maybe that’s not true either. Maybe it’s also a way of trying to enchant others, and maybe it’s about this ability when Verena says: “Your new journey may not go out into the world, but deep inside.” Is it my biggest dream to be less realist? Then maybe I should stop writing documentary reports about myself and start making up stories that enchant people.


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