It’s the house dream again. For weeks this dream has repeated itself in the early morning hours. As usual, the building, one that resembles nothing in my actual life, is unfurnished and mid-renovation. In the dream I feel a little frustration because I am anxious for this house to be finished. As I walk from room to room, the walls and floors shift slowly like those in a funhouse. Holes open to gaping dark places. Windows, doors and dividers aren’t where I expect them to be. Hallways don’t lead to logical places. I awaken more bewildered than frightened, feeling a little like I had just missed the White Rabbit and Mad Hatter who were about to join me for some tea.
The dream dictionary reminds me that a house in a dream is usually a stand-in for one’s self. A crazy house theme can indicate working through challenges to fundamental belief systems and experiencing personal change. An abandoned, broken down house may mean a move to the future, self-improvement, a need to find a new way.
Well, duh. No surprise that this dream state so closely aligns with reality. Because I have, figuratively and literally, ripped off the tape, opened wide the battered cardboard box of my life, turned it upside down and shaken the contents onto the floor. Now, staring down at this pile of stuff that represents more that half a century of hoarding, it’s time to sort through and figure out which few things will make the cut and which will be boxed back up and sent packing. Exhilarating, profound, anxiety-producing and just flat out scary.
As a wellness coach, I sometimes used an exercise with clients that involved taking their probable lifespan and calculating how many days they might expect ahead of them. It’s a bit of ice-water-in-the-face therapy: a shock to the system that helps to remind us how important it is to live in the present and make the most of every day we have left on this earth. I’ve been reading about Linda Leaming’s experiences as an American in Bhutan. She writes that the Bhutanese don’t shy away from thoughts of death, but indeed welcome them. The constant reality that things are impermanent, everything changes, there is always a beginning and an end, helps them to stay in the moment and put life’s challenges in perspective. Leaming writes that rather than being depressing, it is liberating and joyful to think about life as related to death. I’m starting to understand what she means.
All of this informs the choices I am making now. 16,000 days is what I calculated, optimistic and grateful for the long-lived women in my family, as my potential time left on this planet. No promises, of course, since none of us has a crystal ball. That’s sort of the point of all this. I want to live my life, however long it will be, so that when my turn to move on arrives, I will find comfort in the knowledge that not a single day was wasted.
I hope the words on this site offer some comfort, support, guidance, laughter and maybe even ideas for adventure to those of you who are making the same discoveries. Not a fan of narcissistic naval gazing, I promise to share what I am learning along with the experiences of others and whatever helpful resources are revealed along the way.
Oh, one more thing. This is not about “re-invention.” It’s much more fundamental than that. It is a re-imagining, a re-deciding, a re-introduction and a re-examination of, well, everything. It is the cultivation of courage to face the unfamiliar with eyes, arms and heart wide open. It is permission to slow down, be present, be ok, screw things up, learn from mistakes, find joy and have fun.
Day 15,999 begins now.