Retirement Dreams

Andrew Forsythe

THIS ISN’T ANOTHER article about dreaming of retirement. Rather, it’s about dreaming in retirement.

I retired in 2017 after practicing criminal law in central Texas for almost four decades. It could be stressful at times. Before that, there were long years in college and law school.

College was relatively easygoing and enjoyable in the laid-back Austin of the 1970s, plus my major was sociology—a world apart from those in pre-med, engineering and the like. The University of Texas School of Law was, by contrast, a rude wake-up call. The professors and the material were demanding, to put it mildly.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had recurring dreams with the same theme: I’m unprepared for something, or lost in a new environment, or somehow thrust into chaos and disorganization. A frequent dream involves starting off at a new school where I don’t know the location of any of my classes and I’m already way behind on the assignments. Alternatively, I’m in court and I’m totally unprepared for my case.

Now that I’m retired and living the easy life, you’d think those dreams would disappear. But they haven’t. Not content to be unprepared locally, I recently dreamed that I’d somehow become attorney of record on three cases in Florida. You guessed it: Trial was about to start on one case and I was unprepared.

What seems even more odd is that, during my waking hours, I rarely think back on my working life. I have many things on my mind, but my old law practice isn’t one of them.

Maybe it’s genetic—or maybe it just goes with the profession. My dad was a Maryland farm boy who in the 1920s made it to college and then law school. He practiced in Dallas well into his 90s and loved it. Yet his whole life he had similar dreams. The most dramatic of these, he told me, was finding himself in class totally naked.

I’m not really complaining, as my dreamworld is a relatively mild place. It’s nothing like what our military, law enforcement and firefighting veterans experience.

I’m curious about the recurring dreams of others, especially retirees. Here on HumbleDollar, we have writers and readers from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, so I hope you’ll share a comment about your own dreamworld.

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