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January In Your Dreams

January | In Your Dreams


It’s January. We hope your new year began with people you love and something sparkling. We’re wishing you a refreshed energy and incredible dreams in 2024…

Help, I’ve had a few dreams over the years in which I was smoking cigarettes. In real life, I find smoking gross and obviously awful for your health, but in the dreams I really enjoy it, and act comfortably, as if I smoke all the time. What could it mean? Am I a secret smoker in my soul?

January In Your Dreams

Usually in this column, we like to live in the gray area. We consider your dream from many angles, but in the end we say, what do we know, it’s your life. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ In this case, though, we will come down firmly on the side of science and say—hot take—smoking is bad for you, don’t do it. Sorry to sound like your naggiest friend, but we were the generation subjected to harrowing anti-smoking ads between reruns of Family Matters, and they worked.

Culturally, though, the cigarette is an interesting artifact. Despite a decrease in usage, its narrative power remains. Tobacco was a mainstay of the American lifestyle for centuries, ingrained into the everyday. Depictions of smoking in tv and film created a sort of narrative shorthand. The way a character smokes on screen tells us an incredible amount about their state of mind. Think, for instance, about that paparazzi picture of Ben Affleck taking a drag in the cold afternoon light, eyes closed in a mixture of despair and relief. (If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and scoot over to Google.) A whole story fills your mind about exactly how he’s feeling in that moment and why, and the cigarette does a lot of heavy lifting to get you there.

So, while we don’t have the context of the dreams themselves, we’ll examine the cigarette as the key to understanding this dream version of you.

It’s an alluring prop of rebellion, the seduction of living on the edge.

Let’s consider what kind of character we might be dealing with. In movies, cigarettes are for outsiders, cowboys, jaded detectives, kids playing hooky, the French, and Sandy at the end of Grease. It’s an alluring prop of rebellion, the seduction of living on the edge. Do you see yourself as a person who pushes boundaries already? Or is it the opposite? If you prefer playing it safe, it could serve you to take a couple more risks here and there. It’s healthy to rebalance the scales every so often.

But maybe you’re not just a little rebellious. Maybe you’ve got a self-destructive streak, as evidenced by a dream where you’re smoking comfortably, as you say, though it’s a habit you find appalling in your waking life. Is there another habit you might want to take a look at? Some other way you’re subtly sabotaging yourself. For instance, a nightly ritual of doom scrolling in front of the tv probably isn’t settling you up to feel great in your brain, but maybe that’s just us.

Imagine your brain chaining cigs, pacing, waiting for you to finally notice the elephant in the room.

On the other hand, cigarettes can also represent stress relief. It’s like your mind’s way of calling your attention to unprocessed tension. Imagine your brain chaining cigs, pacing, waiting for you to finally notice the elephant in the room. And there’s no shame in needing an outlet. When Obama revealed in his memoir that, due to the stress of, you know, being president, he continued to smoke in office, it was a humanizing moment for someone who seemed so larger than life. We all know what it feels like to cave to a metaphorical secret-shame-smoke, even if we know it’s bad for us. We’re just not all so lucky to do it in the Rose Garden, or wherever. 

Regardless of the exact shade of dream smoker you are, there’s some part of you that seems to be calling out for an outlet, somewhere to put whatever you’ve got going on. And you’ll most likely find that thing through your own personal trial and error, but as they say, the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single pottery class. But what do we know, it’s your life. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you’ve ever woken up from a dream like, what the hell was that?, and would like to be featured in the next In Your Dreams, contact us at with a detailed description of the inner workings of your unconscious mind. We're dreaming of hearing from you.

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