One of my favorite oddball movies is 1964’s Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb. It’s a dark comic satire about the Cold War, with some unforgettable scenes involving Peter Sellers (“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”). It ends with Slim Pickens as Major “King” Kong riding a bomb and yodeling in glee. I know, crazy, but truly a must-see for Stanley Kubrick fans or Cold War kids.
Anyway, middle age isn’t exactly like a bomb. It’s stealthier and more nuanced. It’s not like all of a sudden, I’m not young anymore, but sometimes it feels that way. A glance in the car’s rear-view mirror, or being asked if I want the Senior Discount, for example.
But I think I am learning to love it, or at least focus my mind on the good things about aging. I had a familiar dream last night – familiar to many of you, too, probably. I was in college, but I was the age I am now. I hadn’t gone to class and it was midterm day. At first I panicked as in other versions of this dream. Unprepared! Anxiety attack!
|This was my face. Source.|
In my dream I tried cheating from the younger students (like plastic surgery?). Unsuccessful. Finally I took the test to the professor (the society that “grades” us? or just another aspect of myself) and told him I hadn’t been to class, and to go ahead and flunk me. He was kind, and said, “It’s OK, this test isn’t that big a deal.” I then experienced peace and acceptance in my dream; it was wonderful.
As a psychotherapist, I pay attention to my dreams and those my clients share with me. Sometimes dreams are the place to work through our anxiety. Sometimes they illuminate a piece of truth that’s been simmering in us for a long time.
This learning to love the bomb might be just for today, but I think it’s likely a more lasting shift. That’s why I wanted to share it with you, and hear if you’ve had any similar revelations, whether waking or sleeping.
Have a splendid, dreamy day and stay fabulous,