I was in the Army back in the 70s and to this day, I sometimes have a dream where I’m back in, but I don’t have the right uniform. I’m trying to get to the clothing sales store before somebody catches me, but I don’t know where it is. I’m walking around, knowing I’m about to be caught and in big trouble. Mercifully, I wake up.
Sounds kind of like college dreams, right? It’s the big test, but you forgot to study. Or you didn’t graduate after all. I suspect everyone has a version of these dreams, which I assume are related to stress and/or anxiety.
My dreams are vivid, and I remember most of them. When I tell my husband about them, the first question he asks is if I crossed state lines. The answer is usually yes, many times.
So, I’ve had a few retirement dreams. Last night I dreamed my boss asked me at the last minute to sit in for her at the big Monday staff meeting. Sadly, I had worn slippers to work. I had time to go home and get appropriate shoes, but I was also invited to participate in a ceremony, where I would be honored for something that was not revealed in the dream.
But I wanted to go, so I skipped the shoe exchange and planned to attend the ceremony – in my slippers. I forgot to tell the administrative assistant who runs the meetings that I wouldn’t be there. I couldn’t find the ceremony, and the staff meeting was already over by the time I gave up. I called the admin and apologized for being a no-show.
She starts telling me how much trouble I’m in, the big guy is really mad, but in my dream, I’m thinking, wait! I’m retired! This isn’t really happening. Wake up! They can’t do anything to me. And then mercifully, I wake up.
So, wow. I suspect for many of us, it will take years to completely unwind from the pressures of the workplace. As I think about it, the dreams are similar to a few unpleasant dreams I had when I was working. Doing something stupid and then coping with the fear of getting in trouble.
Um, wait, I think that actually happened … the stupid and the trouble. However, I’ve been pretty lucky none of my mistakes were deal breakers. Although one time in the Army it came close. I had a pattern of saying whatever was on my mind. I asked the lieutenant why I never got any of the cushy assignments, and he said, Pekar, it’s got something to do with what’s between your nose and your chin.
I did learn to control my stream of consciousness ramblings, and that served me well in corporate life. I’m grateful I made it to the finish line and even more grateful I can now wake up and say, wait! This isn’t real. I’m retired.