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The 35 Most Common Recurring Dreams, and My Terrible Interpretations of Their Meanings
written by Sam Greenspan

A new survey found Americans' 35 most popular recurring dreams. Why are we all having the same dreams? Is it possible we're collectively being incepted? I say the answer is almost certainly yes.

I thought I'd break down the survey and also give some helpful interpretations of what these dreams mean. I didn't want to consult a "book" or an "expert" or even a "crowdsourced website" on dream interpretations, though. We are in the middle of the age of anti-intellectualism, after all, where being loud and controversial is SO much more important than being factually accurate. Plus, who's to say I'm wrong. Hello? Any dream experts? Sigmund Freud? Joseph and his amazing technicolor dreamcoat? The ladies of Heart? Martin Luther King Jr.?

Here are the 35 most common recurring dreams and what they almost certainly mean.
  1. Falling, 53.5 percent of people have this recurring dream. Your life feels a bit out of control. Also could be regret over spending 49 bucks on a LivingSocial deal for skydiving that you obviously never cashed in.

  2. Being chased, 50.9 percent. You're afraid of getting old. You're being metaphorically chased by twentysomethings, but ultimately you outrun them because they get distracted by a new Snapchat filter that lets them make themselves look like... oh, I don't know... a pretty camel.

  3. Being back in school, 37.9 percent. You feel unprepared for life. Thanks, liberal arts classes.

  4. Being unprepared for a test or important event, 34 percent. You're afraid you're not ready for the challenges of being an adult, which you now take seriously -- the way you once took tests seriously because you thought they were important.

  5. Flying, 32.6 percent. You had a traumatic flying experience as a child and you need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Blowenstein.

  6. Having sex with someone you shouldn't have, 31.6 percent. You're afraid of making regrettable, permanent decisions. Avoid tattoos and posting "hilarious" racial jokes and memes on Twitter.

  7. Encountering a person who has died in real life, 30.7 percent. You miss Haley Joel Osment and want him to reboot his movie career.

  8. Death (of yourself or a loved one), 29.5 percent. You recognize your own mortality. Could be spurred by any number of minor signs of aging, from random new gray hairs to staying home due to a three-day-old hangover.

  9. Having your teeth fall out, 27.3 percent. Four years is long enough, time to go to the dentist again. Just floss for like two weeks beforehand and they'll never know how much you've been slacking.

  10. Being lost, 27.1 percent. You're lost. I recommend a trip back to your hometown, Zack Braff movie style.

  11. Going nowhere or moving in slow motion, 25.8 percent. Perhaps you like it like that when she's working that back and you don't know how to act.

  12. Being late for/missing a bus, train or plane, 25.5 percent. Everything is too chaotic. Consider hiring an assistant, or at least acquiring a smart animal assistant, like a helper monkey or pig wearing glasses.

  13. Being paralyzed or unable to speak, 24.4 percent. You've got too many thoughts to express and wrangle. I recommend just letting your inner monologue handle them, Zack Braff on Scrubs style.

  14. Finding out your partner is cheating, 18.2 percent. I'm not sure what it means metaphorically, but in reality, it means you should get legitimately angry at him or her over the dream cheating in the morning. It's an argument you can't lose.

  15. Seeing spiders, snakes or other creatures, 16.7 percent. You shouldn't have accepted that glass of orange juice from three 70-pound men near an underpass.

  16. Having intruders try to break into your house, 15.6 percent. You're worried about other people trying to take what you have. Take all your money out of the bank, put it in your mattress, and consider buying a reasonable number of guns, like 40.

  17. Being naked in public, 15.4 percent. You're afraid you're going to be exposed as a fraud. But just keep faking it until you are; meanwhile formulate some backup plans.

  18. Finding money or coming into wealth, 15.3 percent. You're masochistic and want to make sure you depress yourself when you wake up.

  19. Driving an out-of-control vehicle, 14.3 percent. You feel that your life is out of control and you need the mental equivalent of a smooth-handling Volvo.

  20. Meeting a celebrity, 13.6 percent. You've lost the line between reality (shows) and actual reality. Which is fitting, because reality shows have essentially nothing to do with actual reality.

  21. Meeting a beautiful stranger or mystery man, 13.5 percent. It's time to do more bold things in life. (I like that they went with "beautiful stranger" and "mystery man," which are a a song on the Austin Powers 2 soundtrack and subtitle of Austin Powers 1, respectively.)

  22. Vacationing in a magical or wonderful place, 13.3 percent. You bumped your head during a tornado.

  23. Experiencing the apocalypse, 13.1 percent. Oh come on, the results of a presidential election can never lead to something THAT bad, no matter what cable news shouts at you.

  24. Being unable to find a toilet, 12.8 percent. You have something inside you that feels like it's going to burst out. A secret, perhaps. A secret that is metaphorical feces.

  25. Discovering a secret or unused room, 12.2 percent. Either you feel like your home life is coming up a little short, or you've been to Narnia.

  26. Being pregnant, 12 percent. You're happy with your job at the bowling alley and hope nothing comes in the way of you doing it.

  27. Being part of a movie or TV show, 11.2 percent. You crave the idea of problems resolving themselves neatly and consequence-free within the span of a neat 22- to 44-minutes. Unfortunately, real-life problems don't do that -- they either resolve in a matter of seconds or linger for decades.

  28. Being trapped or crushed, 9.1 percent. Your significant other is doing trial runs of the pillow over your face... you know, just in case.

  29. Drowning, 9 percent. You're overwhelmed but also maybe you should get an above-ground pool.

  30. Using technology that doesn't work, 7.8 percent. You can't keep up with the changing times. Don't worry, no one can. Throw all your electronics into your new above ground pool and go full Luddite. (Except for the pool.)

  31. Encountering aliens or UFOs, 6.5 percent. Maybe this really DID happen but they convinced you it was a dream so you wouldn't tell anyone.

  32. Losing or forgetting a child, 6.5 percent. You're worried you didn't properly teach your child how to set nearly-lethal booby traps around the house in case robbers show up.

  33. Experiencing a plane crash, 4.9 percent. You have some dangling loose ends you should really shore up. Time to apologize to people or, better yet, just know that you WANT to apologize to them but don't actually do it. Your conscience will basically feel the same either way.

  34. Making an important discovery, 4.8 percent. You need to start keeping a journal, because your subconscious is clearly ready for you to be on Shark Tank.

  35. Having glass in your mouth, 1.1 percent. Welp, that was a nice lamp.

This post was originally published on Thursday, September 8, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM under the category Personal.

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