Keeping a Dream Log• 2 min read
Just shortly before New Year's in 2020, I started keeping a dream log.
I had to keep the process simple. I don't often remember dreams a few minutes after waking. Rather than opening Notes every morning and creating a new note, I created a Shortcut that creates a new note with yesterday's date, saves the note in the folder I had set up for dreams, then opens the note.
This worked quite well, especially after iOS had learned this was part of my morning routine and started to suggest the shortcut in Spotlight.
In 2021, I ended up having 243 dreams, which is almost exactly 2/3 of the year (a dream every other day or so).
Most of the dream entires are only a few sentences, but there's a few odd ones out that I was able to recall in much more detail. Why? I have no idea.
I found there to be a delicate balance between writing a detail dream entry and recording the entire dream. Sometimes I'll find it if I try to extract more details from a particular part of the dream, I'll end up losing detail in a later part of the dream or the entire remainder of the dream.
When I started recording dream entries, I attempted to do some post-dream analysis while recording. For example, if I left a room and I couldn't remember why, I'd try to determine why I would have left and write that down. However, this ended up hurting recall and I decided to leave any potential analysis for after writing down the dream.
What did I learn from keeping a dream log? I've learned my dreams are usually about whatever I'm thinking about or concerned about, e.g. work stress, COVID, travel, or anxiety about visiting the dentist. The remainder are random, typically hilarious, stories with attendance of Ryan, my family, or coworkers.
Keeping a dream log has been pretty rewarding and very low effort. It's worth it alone to be able to read previous dreams and marvel at its absurdity or learn what was bothering me at that point in time.
Here's a selection of a few dreams that I thought were particularly entertaining. They've been edited for content and clarity.
Ryan was making something. I was learning how to wrangle a group of large, shrimp worms.
Tom Hanks saves a space robotic from burning in a space fire before saving a human from dying.
Ryan and I went to Chicago. It was great. We went to lunch at a restaurant and all the tables were spaced out for COVID. Our hotel room was the penthouse but the bed was on the roof outside.
Everyone was getting their last vaccine. My grandma got a job at a hospital. The Obamas drove us the the vaccination site, but we had to stop at their home first. We parked a block down the street and did parkour in the parking garage.
Alton Brown was head of the smallest Apple store in a mall. It only had room for like 6 employees and their desks. For some reason, it was more like corporate than not.
I still can't get over Barack and I doing parkour! 🤣