Why This Dad Dreams About Losing Teeth

13 months.

Last night, in a completely believable dream, I lost a tooth for no good reason. I thought, “With this being the weekend, how am I going to get this fixed?” Then I lost another tooth, and then another; it was like a falling house of cards but with most of my teeth instead.

This has been a reoccurring dream I’ve been having since I graduated college; but now, as a dad and husband, it’s so much more vivid.

Dreams are interesting in that they reveal something that our subconscious is trying to sort out while we are asleep. When I Googled “dream about losing teeth,” the most consistent interpretation was not that this dream tells of a preoccupation with one’s vanity, but instead an ongoing worry about money.

Do I worry about money? I’ve said it before, “I hate money.” I’m the kind of guy who could never buy a brand-new car. I refuse to pay for cable TV; surviving on the 8 dollar a month Netflix package through my Wii. At least half of the clothes I wear are over a decade old. My iPod was bought refurbished off of Amazon.com 4 years ago and its screen is completely covered in a spider web-like crack.

But while I don’t care about money, it’s pretty obvious that my subconscious knows something that the rest of me is not so aware of: Like a lot of people, I’m sort of terrified on a daily basis of not being able to provide for my family; of being without a job, again.

Yeah, I know it- that’s nothing knew. Most people throughout the history of the world have felt that way. It’s what drives the free market.

I’m not assuming I have a unique story, but I do feel scarred from my not-so-distant 4 month stint of unemployment. I call it my “Vietnam.”

Perhaps another reason I keep dreaming about losing teeth is the fact that my personality and skill set have led me to a life where quotas and statistics matter.

I’m horrible at math, science, or anything technical. But when it comes to carrying on interesting conversations, influencing people’s opinions, and translating engaging thoughts into blog form, I’m your man. That’s one thing I can do with confidence.

Or is it?

Both my “real job” in sales where I’m on the phone all day in an office and my “side job” writing for The Dadabase on Parents.com have something very serious in common: My performance and livelihood are measured in numbers.

At my sales job I am highly pressured to “meet quota” every month in order to remain employed. As for daddy blogging, the pressure is applied by myself, not my editors, as I check my “views” at the end of every day, hoping to see that more readers are tuning in to The Dadabase than the week before.

In fact, it’s my personal goal each day to write a Dadabase post that beats August’s, “The Half Abortion: Only Keeping One Twin.” Nearly everyday, it remains the #1 viewed post.

Despite not being a numbers guy, numbers measure my income as well as my sense of career accomplishment. So yeah, it’s a wonder I don’t dream about losing my teeth every night.

If only in the dream I could remember to read this exact blog post so I could remind myself that I didn’t really lose my teeth and that it’s just me subconsciously worrying about money again.

Then the only dreams I would have to worry about then would be the ones where I wake up completely bald or where I’m only a few weeks away from graduating college but forgot to attend that final math class all semester.

I was an English major. You do the math.

Image: Man in Santa hat, via Shutterstock.

Unexpected Bonus!

Speaking of not worrying and just being happy, it’s time for a book giveaway. Hurry Less Worry Less at Christmas, by Judy Christie, is a book to help us get out of that frenzied, out-of-control frame of mind that we can find ourselves in during the holidays. This book helps us begin to have a deeper understanding of the joy of the Christmas season and how that can be a starting point for a more abundant life in the New Year.

Want a free copy of this book? Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to nickshell1983@hotmail.com.

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  1. by Thereislightonthehorizon

    On December 18, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Oh, my word! I have had that exact same dream for the last 36 years! It all started with being in love and marrying even though we were both unemployed in 1975′s recession. What the heck! Love wins overall!
    Flash forward to 3 children later,a couple more recessions/stock market panics/housing busts and whatever!, having jobs in the manufacturing sector and relocating 2000 miles away from immediate family. Still in love, yet NOW the dreams make some sense! I had been told before that this particular dream had a lot to do with “losing control” (losing teeth)and the feeling of helplessness with the loss. I prefer your version about “worrying about money” since that one has really been a driving force in my lifetime. It’s also easier to accept once the explanation is given. ;)
    Quick question about you losing your teeth dreams…do they just fall out or do you assist/push them out? I ask because another sage mentioned that if you assist them falling out it is because you are responsible for your situation. I can’t say I agree with that observation….what do you think?

  2. by Thereislightonthehorizon

    On December 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    BTW: I’d love a copy of the book, “Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmas”, – Judy Christie

  3. by Nick Shell

    On December 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Glad you can relate to my weird dream. In my version, the teeth are just automatically so loose that they fall out on their own. I do believe that the way they fall out has something to do with how responsible you feel for you helplessness.