Which Way Now?


Night before last I dreamed about maps. Most of the detail is lost now, but the whole dream was about directions and maps and needing to find my way somewhere. Seems like one of those dreams that is kind of easy to interpret, yet I thought about it a lot yesterday.

Last night it was a dream about literally moving my house. Now this one was clearly born out of my watching a bit of a TV show yesterday that involved someone literally having an older house she bought lifted from its foundation and moved to a new location. But the dream seemed to hold much more importance to me than just being a residual from the day’s TV watching. Even while still asleep I was relating it to the dream from the night before.  This morning, of course, it and yesterday’s dream are running around in my head.

In the pursuit of the obvious I thought I’d analyze the “messages” from the dreams if only to get the mind bug they have created out of my head. Maps and directions combined with being lifted from foundations are pretty clear symbols. I must be feeling a bit lost and adrift. Stability in my life has been shaken and my foundations are not feeling steady anymore.

Once written down it seems so bland sitting there as well as, yes, painfully obvious.  The last 8 months of my life have indeed been some of the rockiest I have experienced in my somewhat uneventful life. My foundations have  been kicked out from under me and feeling somewhat lost has become a familiar state.

For fourteen years I was working for an organization that I fully intended to retire from one day. Rare as it is these days to stay so long with one company when I was still young and idealistic I had found a place that just clicked for me.  No job is perfect but this place somehow accepted me warts and all and I was fiercely loyal to my work and company.

In fact I had been there so long I felt at home.  After all we spend more time at work then we do at home so after all those years it is not surprising that it felt like more than just a job to me.  In October I was laid off. The shock I felt was quickly followed by a deep sadness.  As overly dramatic as it sounds I felt like I was mourning a loss.

I did all the things I needed to do. Filing for unemployment. Rolling over my 401K to an IRA. Sending out hundreds of resumes. Taking on freelance jobs that were kindly offered to me. But looking back I can see how my subconscious mind might produce a map for me to search to illustrate how I was feeling.

Certainly nothing is guaranteed in this life, but I had mapped out certain parts of my life and felt like they were stable and settled. I knew where I would be working. I had carefully chosen a home I felt I could always comfortably afford on my salary. I was the responsible one. I worked hard, giving 150%. I was rewarded with stability in my life.

I realize now that my identity was completely wrapped up in my work. I was in marketing. More than that I was a marketer for “this” specific publishing company. With that gone I was absolutely adrift.

Then came the devastating news that my mother was sick with an illness that very well could take her life. It felt like the foundations that my world was built on were crumbling.

The things I thought I could count on were not there anymore. They were replaced by uncertainty. Would my mother be able to beat this illness? Would I be able to find a job? Would we be able to stay ahead of the bills. Would there be enough freelance to make ends meet or would things dry up. Without stability in my life I had become a nervous nelly.

It is important to note there are lots of great things in my life and I have never suffered from some great depression. I have a wonderful husband and family, a nice home, and plenty of extras. I know I am blessed and there are many who have far more devastating circumstances.

But I certainly have felt sad, shaken, and lost for the past eight months.  This will officially–for now–go down as the worst year of my life. I am looking forward to hitting month 12 and calling it done. I am working on getting my map back in shape and figuring out my direction. In another year it will be good to look back and see how far I have come.