Woke at 5:30 with every intention of going back to sleep. Woke in a pool of cool, bright moonlight, with the smell or future rain through the window and a cat’s butt in my face. Woke from a dream.

In the dream, I was first-name close to a well-known musician who shall remain nameless…a man who was polite and friendly, but who clearly was not going to feel for me what I felt for him.

What the hell was that all about?

All right, let’s pick up the useful tool of you-are-your-dreams-and-everyone-in-them. What was I trying to tell me?

I’ve had dreams like these before. I’ve wakened from them heartsore and near tears. Not this time. This was not the classical rejection dream. I was not cast out…I didn’t even feel horribly sorry for myself. I was sad that my affection was not going to be returned, but I was okay with it.

The dream was not new. But my reactions to it were. There was no waking thought of “if I go back to sleep, I can rearrange the end to be more to my liking.” Nothing of “love will come if only he gets to know me.” I was not taxing my already-unrealistic notions of love; not dwelling in the place that glorifies a love that probably isn’t attainable in truth.

No, the dream acknowledged a fantasy that is cherished and secret in me but did not surrender to it. Looking larger, it was, I think, a dream about steadiness in the face of uncertainty and non-acceptance. A neutralness. An adultness that sometimes—and surprisingly—takes setbacks in stride. A willingness to try one’s best and let the outcome be what it will be.

Was I dreaming-out my feelings about an upcoming job interview? Or was it about my writing as I ramp up for the finish of the book? Was I dreaming the self that has found itself in the silence of this house? Does it matter?

Sometimes your dreams don’t like you. And sometimes, you learn not to mind.