How I Learned To Love The Bomb (Of Middle Age)

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,

(Visited 134 times, 1 visits today)



  1. I get the back in high school test dreams but I'm never anxious in them, just bothered and seriously considering ditching. They are often lucid dreams for me.

    I'm enjoying the wisdom of middle age but am struggling with the physical aspects. I hate the weight gain and decrease in energy!

  2. Oh yes, I have those anxiety dreams sometimes, often about an unprepared for exam, but also being onstage and not knowing the play or my lines. I get the ones about being incapable of getting somewhere too, and and feeling the panic rising about missing a scheduled event. I can usually tie them into some general stress going on at the time, and the realisation that it's all a dream on waking is wonderful! xxx

  3. Love your interpretations. With all this fun menopause going on and hot flashes I don't seem to get enough deep sleep to enjoy a dream lately but during the day, I sure like to day dream about a good night's sleep. Other than what I just mentioned, this middle age is suiting me just fine, I'm actually enjoying life a lot at this stage in life.

  4. My dreams have always been ultra colorful and have had great impact on my real world. I look to them for guidance or at least a way to see what's really going on inside me. Often I am in awe of the situations and images that are conjured up- literally things I would never "image" are thrown at me inside my own head. Clearly there's a universe beyond the grasp of imagination. Anyhoo, dreams are valuable and dreaming is sanity. Loved this post and your always, sage and grounded perspective. xo.

  5. I love those dreams where you're panicked about something and then suddenly you become aware that its only a dream, relax and enjoy the ride.

  6. I always think and dream of myself as a much younger person. It's only when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror do I say, "Who is that older lady wearing my clothes?" Thankfully my old age is causing my eyesight to fade so I can continue to believe that I haven't really changed.

  7. When I have one of these unprepared-for-the-test dreams, it makes me really happy to be my age and not taking tests any more!

  8. I pay attention to my dreams, as well. Whenever I get melancholy about the loss of youth, I try to remember the freedoms and yes, wisdom, I have now…more disposable income, more time to do what I want, more personal expression, etc. I want to age gracefully, and that means really focusing on the positives…just like you!

  9. Great post. Truth be told we are only as young as we feel when we get up in the morning. If I feel energized, I'll go walk the beach. If not I watch TV while sipping my first cup of coffee. Then the day is just toast. . .

  10. Hi Patti, fun post! I usually remember my dreams and can nearly always figure out their larger meaning. Sometimes they are simply really wacky and could be a Stanley Kubrick Movie! Like most people, there are recurring dreams that indicate stress, which for me is usually represented by a loss of control over what is happening. When I first split from my husband after 23 years of marriage ( and I am the one who initiated the split ) I constantly dreamed that I was lost in a large city and knew where I wanted to go but just couldn't seem to get there. Given everything that was happening in my life it made total sense. When I was in unhappy marriage, one of my recurring dreams was simply that all my teeth fell out, one by one the way they might in a cartoon, sort of like dominoes falling over. I could feel the sensation of it as teeth filled my mouth and I had to spit them out.

  11. I've had the unprepared school dream, too. I used to have one about being stuck in and/or flunking out of high school constantly until I decided to go back and finish getting my college degree… It ceased after I graduated.

  12. This really spoke to me. I'm aging just like anyone else, although, I suppose I'm still young. No matter the age, the wisdom you have shared today really spoke to me! Here is to knowing that this test isn't really that big of a deal.

  13. I never think about my age unless i have hot flashes, hahaha! but i know what you mean- I say oups! my youth is slipping away so is my collagen, but i don't make big fuss about it – Sometimes it annoys me cause i'm more aware of my limitations but i'm not a nostalgic, i move on and what see what will happen —
    I know i want to take good care of myself more than ever

    Have a great weekend Patti see you on Monday!


  14. I so rarely remember my dreams. Usually they're about trying to get from point A to point B, having a lot of obstacles thrown in my path. 🙂 I love your interpretation of your dream!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.