A rambling dream jumped me all over the place and at the end, landed me in Australia, visiting my sister, in the damp chill of mid-winter, which is what she is experiencing right now. In her location in the southeast corner of the country, winters are cold, rainy and relentless. She spends the season perched in front of the flames in a yawning river-stone fireplace, and given that they live with no central heating; her winters are probably harder to make it through than our harsh snowy ones. I take that on her word though, as wisely, I’ve only visited in her summer.
In my dream, it was a dank, grey day and we were at a crowded outdoor market, standing under a white expansive tent--the type people plant in their yards for summer parties--in front of a rectangular table filled with stylish wool jackets for sale at bargain prices. I picked up a pink-and-grey boucle with a soft Peter Pan collar, thinking it would be perfect for my “business casual” wardrobe because I could dress it up, or wear it with jeans. I pictured myself sitting with my back to the window in a swivel chair at the desk in my old office, wearing the warm jacket. And there, with a screech of the breaks, I woke up, thinking, “Right, I don’t work there anymore.”
Here is why this dream worried me. The first professional job I had--not including my brief stint as a “gofer” at my Dad’s law firm--lasted 2.5 years. I sat at the front desk in a busy employment agency, welcoming applicants, answering phones and typing offer letters, and for the first two years, loved the job, loved the people and learned about business. Then, as simple as it was, I outgrew it. It’s hard to leave when you care about your coworkers and are loyal to the firm, but finally I moved on, ready, but tearing up at my farewell party.
Then, after exiting that company, I dreamed about it for years. Long after my next job ended and I moved to my dearly-departed twenty-three year stint, sleep introduced scenarios at the corporate offices of that first employer, which had full glass views from forty-second floor of Boston’s John Hancock Tower. Well beyond the time I lost touch with most of those first fellow workers, I would wake up after dreaming of them. And, as I’ve mentioned above, that growth experience lasted a short few years.
I know it’s only been a couple of months and that I am still in processing mode, but last night’s fantasy sequence left me apprehensive. If it takes so long to stop dreaming about a job I had for two years, when will I stop dreaming about the experience that lasted over twenty?