In the minutes before I awoke this morning, I dreamed I had a terminal illness, with mere days, or perhaps hours, to live. At first I was out enjoying time with my family at a carnival, but as I started developing a ragged cough, I went back to a space that had been prepared for me–it wasn’t home, it wasn’t the home of any friend or family member, but it was a nice room, possibly an apartment or hotel, with a table for my laptop. I was alone, and I sat around thinking about what I wanted to do before I died.
I didn’t want to die, of course, but I was trying not to think about that. I pushed aside thoughts of family members who had succumbed to the illness before me (apparently it was a deadly virus) and thoughts of what might have been (“It’s a good thing I could never have children,” I told myself, as I wouldn’t be around to raise them). Instead I focused on setting my affairs in order.
One thought was to write a blog post entitled “I’m dying.” I went back and forth about whether or not to put a period at the end. I thought about what to say, and mostly I planned to write who got my possessions. I remember thinking that my stuff would automatically go to my parents if I didn’t specifically dole it out, which doesn’t make sense, but that’s dream logic.
I also pondered what to say about my digital footprint, my photos in particular. The free lifetime account SmugMug gave me after the fire would obviously expire when I did, so I wondered if I could–or should–ask that someone start to pay for it, to keep the chronicle of my life online. And of course there was also my blog, the hosting and such. I was uncomfortable with the idea of asking someone to pay to keep those things around, but I didn’t want them to just disappear, either.
Ultimately I woke up before I ever started writing the blog post I was planning, and I was quite relieved to realize that I wasn’t dying after all. I fell back asleep briefly, back into the feelings of missed opportunities and the desire to make some sort of tangible mark and the fervent wish that I could somehow escape my fate, and when I woke up again I got out of bed immediately.