I have many bizarre and often chaotic dreams, sometimes so visceral that I wake up yelling, laughing, crying, or even thrashing around. I don’t remember every single dream, but I can recall many that stand out to me, or rather the parts that stand out. My dreams are running phantasmagorias that stretch out in long series of episodes with so many events that only some remain in memory upon waking. I often learn things about myself from my dreams and I thought I would start sharing them. Here is one I experienced last night.

In my dream I had to go to a group interview for a job that I wanted. Oddly enough, one of my best friends was going to be interviewed at the same time with me, which made me feel slightly less nervous, but not much less.

I drove us to the place where we were going to be interviewed and I was overwhelmed at the size of it. It was a long building, wide and tall, that ran down the length of one of the big city streets. I do not recall its name. When we walked in through the many doors, we were among a flurry of people, customers and employees, in a cavernous structure that was made up of various departments that were open to one another. There was a library, a computer lab, a health clinic, a rehabilitation center, and others that ran down the length of the building, separated by dividers rather than floor to ceiling walls. Each department was furnished accordingly.

We made our way through various places and finally to a cluster of long tables where we were prompted by a middle-aged woman to sit. My friend and I sat side by side and several other businessmen and women surrounded us at the table. They had stern faces and very serious dispositions that frightened me. My friend, though, he was cool and collected.

The first woman, who I guess was the head of this department (I do not recall which one we were applicants for), very bluntly asked for our papers. I was confused and entirely caught off guard. I had nothing with me. I didn’t even have my resume! Completely empty-handed. My friend pulled out a professional folder out of nowhere and handed her his resume and portfolio. I was humiliated.

“I don’t have anything,” I said, “but I can print my resume from my email in the computer lab.”

The woman nodded and I shakily dismissed myself. I had very little time. Distraught and embarrassed enough to vomit, I hurried away through the maze of businesses to the expansive computer lab and found one at the far end of a long table surrounded by a sea of computers.

I looked at my watch and saw that it was 11:30am. The place was going to close in one hour. I had plenty of time.

When I got at the desk, my computer asked for a password. I turned to a girl sitting a few spaces away from me and asked what it was. She pointed to what looked like a billboard overlooking the entire department. Written across it was a complex math equation. The answer was the password.

I began to work my way through the equation, but it turned out to be much more complicated than I thought and it was taking a long time to solve. Unfortunately, it took the entire hour and I still wasn’t done. We were told to get off of our computers and, dejected, I made my way back to where my friend was. The woman said I could come back in a month for another interview. We left. I was so angry with myself for not being prepared.

Later that night I was texting my friend about how terrible I felt for messing it up. He proceeded to flood my Facebook wall with encouraging posts and maxims, telling me to never give up and that I am a great person. He cheered me up and the dream moved on to me and the same friend going for coffee, meeting our other friends, and more events and incidents that took me away from the failed interview forever.

The dream struck me and I realized something about myself. I already knew I was terrified of job interviews. But I also realized that I compare myself to those around me who I love and admire, including my friends. I see other people as being more put-together than I am and it makes me nervous about my own abilities. I am so afraid of being embarrassed by my own incompetence. But my friends are always there to lift me up and encourage me no matter what. They remind me that I am not incompetent and that I have potential to do things with my life in my own way. They have always been like this and they always will.

I have these dreams that reflect truths about my waking reality and they always strike deep within my heart. My truth is that I am close to people who aren’t going to give up on me. I also have to realize that I cannot compare myself to others because they are struggling through this life in their own way. We are all on different paths that lead to our futures. We are there for one another all the way, and we aren’t going to let one another fall behind or get lost. Find those people because they are the ones who aren’t going anywhere. Thankfully I have several.

By the way, on a last note, I am pretty sure that terrible math equation reflects my own complex view of the world. I want to figure out what life is, and I’m one to ponder an issue for a very long time, reworking the themes and solutions tirelessly.