You turn off the lights and get under the sheets, letting your head sink into your pillow and your eyes close in the darkness. What comes to mind? Is it a memory, or a place, perhaps? Maybe it’s a person? Someone who often features in your thoughts before you fall asleep, and even makes an appearance in your dreams?
At some point or other, all of us have this particular experience. We all know what it’s like to feel that way about someone; that painful longing where we wish we knew if they felt the same way. In those last few moments right before we slip into the peaceful oblivion of sleep, that person haunts our thoughts and our imagination.
We wonder whether they’ve ever thought about us the way we think of them. We ask ourselves if there’s any chance we’ll ever fall asleep wrapped up in their arms, our minds firmly grounded in the present moment as we soak up their presence and drift off to sleep completely content.
Someone who features in your thoughts like this late at night, when there’s nothing else to distract you and your mind is free to rove and scan over the things in your life that you feel the most positive about, must surely mean a lot to you.
How do you feel about them? Ask yourself, and be honest in your answer. How would you feel if you knew they felt the same way about you?
Chances are that when you start asking yourself questions of this nature your heart starts beating faster and you feel butterflies in your stomach. There’s no way they feel the same way, right? Even if they do, there’s no way of knowing. You could never put yourself on the line and tell them how you feel. You could never take that gamble, never risk being rejected by the person who you idolize and be left more alone than you’ve ever felt.
You are just a dreamer, and they are just a dream. That’s all there is to it, and that’s enough. Better to keep them as a pleasant dream that you can continue to enjoy than wake up to the disappointing reality that you can’t look at the same way ever again, right? If you never take that chance, you never have to find out. You never have to be rejected. You can keep on thinking about them before you go to sleep, safe in the knowledge that you never have to know how it feels to have them turn you down.
Is it better to strike out or never play in the first place? Do you take a chance, knowing that everything could crash and burn, or do you walk home alone again in the rain? The choice is yours, of course, but I’d urge you to consider the following:
Life is short, and nothing lasts forever.
Sure, you can play it safe. You can hide yourself away, avoid taking risks, and never have to experience how it feels to be rejected by the person who lingers on your mind in your most vulnerable moments.
But you’re going to die one day.
No one ends up on their deathbed in their old age wishing they’d played things more safely. No one lays there, dying, regretting the moments they chose to be brave and to put themselves on the line.
What would you regret if the end came to you now? Life is an adventure to be embraced, not a problem to be solved. No matter how safely you play things, in the end we’re all going the same way. Playing it safe is an illusion. There is no way to avoid the negative parts of life. But if you never try, never put yourself on the line and take a risk, you’ll never achieve those things you dream about, and you may well end up regretting it in your last moments.
So, take a chance. Put yourself out there. Who knows? Maybe that person you think about before you fall asleep thinks about you too.