Not to contradict what I said yesterday about the paucity of remembered dreams, two work-related ones come to mind.
One happened about a decade ago; the other one, recently. Both involved horses.
In the former dream, a carriage horse—romantic figure, albeit an elderly one, slowed and then dropped to the curb, exhausted. At that a small crowd gathered and were beating the poor creature with riding sticks, insisting it get up; get back to work.
An onlooker, at first I thought, upset by the sight, but also somewhat clinically detached: so this is what the expression “beating a dead horse” looks like.
Then, sickened by what I saw, I thought: Why are the people being so cruel? The horse is exhausted, not lazy. It can’t get up.
As I bent down, kneeling in the gutter to take a closer look at the pathetic-looking creature, who seemed plaintively to be looking directly at me for help, I was startled to see that the horse’s face looked remarkably familiar—as if looking into a mirror, at which point I woke up from the dream. Trembling. (I still can see the pained, plaintive look on that horse’s my-face, if I allow myself.)
At the time of the dream, I was at early retirement age, but not ready to retire. Feeling decidedly overburdened by work, I sought relief to no avail. My solution: to actively look for a different kind of work.
Fast forward to a recent dream.
A confident horse, neither young nor old, whether work or race, I do not know, with no resemblance whatsoever to me, fully, independently, proudly, triumphantly itself, was set free to move at its own pace in the fields, bright green grassy fields that despite borders seemed freely expansive.
And when I awoke from that dream, I smiled, happy to think that soon I would be sharing the horse’s unbridled freedom.
(In case you’re wondering, except for one summer’s solitary horse ride, horses have never been part of my work or leisure experience, although as a young girl I fantasized about owning a horse, and as an adult, when asked to pick an animal to describe myself, I named a carousel horse; ergo, my avatar image.)
Affectionately (at least I hope it was affectionately) called a “work horse” by one of my last supervisors, both allegories speak to me.
And this work horse has put herself out to pasture—but in a good way, I hope, to be more fully me, to confidently run free within boundaries, and hopefully not to end up as glue or meat because I am no longer daily workplace productive.
What animal is it–or would it be–that speaks or stands for you in your retirement allegory?