I had a revealing dream last night. It woke me up with a start and gave me the clearest feeling that I’ve got to finally grow up! There I was 72 years of age and trying out for the basketball team at the local high school all three of our children attended years ago.
Now, in “real life” (as they say), I used to be a pretty good basketball player. And in my dream, I was thinking that I still was, even though I was having trouble making my jump shot.
Then the moment of truth came. The coach was selecting the starting five. I was sure I’d be picked. To my surprise, I wasn’t. Next he started calling out names to fill out the roster. You guessed it; my name wasn’t called. So there I was at 72 left on the bench all alone and watching very inept, out-of-shape high schoolers taking “my place.”
All of a sudden I found myself wearing a suit and tie instead of my basketball stuff. Now, I hardly ever wear a suit. And one of the next times I do, I’ll probably be laid out in a coffin. Hmm.
I think the dream depicted my feelings about retirement – and perhaps life’s approaching end. I feel I’ve been told in several different and important (to me) venues that I’m not really wanted the way I used to be, and that the world can get along quite well without me.
But even if it’s obvious, I’m the sort that has a hard time stomaching the message and accepting the gift of retirement and “declining years” with the grace, gratitude, and relief most people associate with leaving formal employment behind.
It’s what I have to work on. I suspect there’s a lot of “Catholic guilt” lurking somewhere here. And there’s a whole lot of “letting go” that I’ll have to work through. I’ll be reflecting on such issues here over the coming weeks.