Dreams and the Art of Mid-Lifery

Written by Jim Klein

At times I feel like I’m 48 going on 18. Five years ago I somewhat belatedly discovered myself to be a mid-lifer. I’m unsure why or exactly how it happened but five years ago, I actually felt myself changing. I allowed myself to go with the process.  

Prior to 6/9/80 I do not recall any dreams! Some passing fantasies; a couple of hypnogogic images; but no full-blown dreams or even wouldn’t be confessing.

I began recording my dreams. The floodgates opened. Literally, volumes poured-forth. I was so excited. I couldn’t spend enough time with my dreams. l vascillated between daimonic delights and dread. The kingdoms within came forcefully alive. The underpinning of another me surfaced. The limits of my awareness were stretched. The process of change I had at first vaguely felt became a Shakespearean stage both within and without. The many players were me.

Up to five years ago I was very extraverted. In my more self critical moments I bemoan the extremes to which I went to be considered a good fellow; a fine person. Whatever mask was handed me I semiconsciously put on. My identity was pretty much what I felt others wanted.

At age twenty I wrote a song while sitting atop a dockside grain elevator in South Chicago. I wrote of my fleeting awareness of a force in control of my life. The song was entitled “Someone”. It was a love song. The first stanza went:

Someone’s the sentry of our hearts, Dear Someone’s the guardian of our love. We’ll never do it on our own, Dear, We’ll need assistance from above.

With equal profundity the song continued until the closing line: “Our Someone with His guiding light”. The force was for the most part outside me but the 11hour11 was sneaking a peak.

The inner realities were trying to get a toe-hold in my consciousness. They could do so in but prepackaged forms. In fact, those realities were quietly and matter-of-factly confined and calcified in the signs, symbols and traditions of my version of Roman Catholic Christianity. I consciously pursued and obtained a life-draining strangle hold on those symbols of transformation through an ego embellishing, mask-seeking-maintaining assumption of the role of priest in 1964. My grasp of the realities behind and within the words, images, and actions of religion became my ego’s shield. My childish securities Jim Klein Page 2 and hero needs were protected and nourished.

At age 32 1 came to make what seems to me to be one of the first truly adult decisions of my life to that point. I met and married Mary Kay. This meeting was shot through with fantastic, romantic encounters and events. Images of “Someone” flashed like fireflies. There surged from my depths the repressed libido of juvenile sexuality. A sexuality once held in abeyance by denial, confusion, guilt, and fear frothed with excitement.

These forces for change were powerful. They needed to be. They began working loose the life-long locks of natural tendencies, family expectations, educational biases, churchy assurances, and religious moralities. God was no longer a wing under which to hide but a father (natural and mythic) to be challenged; as was the church. Christ was no longer a cosmic brother to be imitated but an enfleshed person seeking recognition.

Although great and powerful, these forces were accomplishing all with the deft prowess of a most experienced thief. God was picking my pocket. The divine thief was carefully taking from me the “treasures of childhood” that had become for me the shackles of adulthood.

At age 43 it was as though a life-long pregnancy had come to fruition; labor had begun. The kingdoms within and without were pressing to meet. The amniotic fluid appeared in the following dreamflow:

I’m present in a boarding house for alcoholics and derelicts. The landlady (Mrs. Coogan) is in another part of the house scolding one of her boarders for even considering going to California. Somehow I know he’s a young man.

“These forces for change were powerful. They needed to be.”

 I find myself in another room of the house choosing from some leftover trinkets of a clergyman’s having-to-get-rid-of-all-the-props-sale. I am returning from a room with a needle-point upholstered chair. It’s an antique from my dad’s brother’s house. The chair has a Santa Claus face with a hat on it pinned to the back. I’m thinking of how glad the kids will be that at least I’ve got the chair. Everything else in the “sale” room is plaster-of-Paris, cheap, rather gaudy stuff

I then hear Mrs. Coogan being told by the young man she had been scolding before to: ‘Leave my hard-on alone”! I look in the door of his room. He is in bed with only a sheet covering him. Mrs. Coogan is busy giving him oral genital stimulation. The young man is resisting a moderate amount. I grab Mrs. Coogan by the tail of her flowing white robes and tug her off the young man and into the hallway. I tell her that if she ever threatens my alkis or derelict friends again I’ll blab all around what I have on her. She pleads with me not to do so and appears remorseful, but when I finish lecturing her she goes right back to the young man, spreads open her flowing robes and makes a nose-dive for his penis.  

I again tug at her bottom and when she comes up I say remindingly: “That’s as much a sin as what you are condemning the alkis and derelicts for!”  

Next I know I’ve moved to Chicago to work as an undercover-research agent. I hate the big city and the cool,methodical, impersonal, sterile work and workplace. I see a familiar woman watching her children at an indoor swimming pool. I’m surprised to see them. I leave without greeting them. I meet a familiar male coming in. I greet him enthusiastically and warmly. He seems to like my greeting. He works at this place.

The workplace is located in a simple, small, old, rundown house. Inside the house there is a concealed entrance/passageway that leads underground to a mammoth, intricate command-research center deep within the earth.

I came to this center with a partner; a vaguely familiar man. He’s been in this scientific analysis field for some time. He’s very enthusiastic about it. There are many codes and security measures. I think to myself: “If I just put in my time and do not produce, will they still pay me?”

I notice a telex-like coding machine. A line of codes is appearing on the paper. I think that the code must be especially significant. I determine (don’t know how) that the message has something to do with a project that took place after World War I and II. The project was in code numbers “406” and “46”, I believe.

I am sick of this place. Although underground, my partner has opened a window. I see dust all over my ancient, massively heavy, maroon-brown molded work area. It’s like the whole area is a carved out space in a cave.

My Mom and some older women have come for a visit. I’m homesick and want to return to my wife and children. I agree to go out to dinner with Mom and the women. We crowd into a vehicle. I don’t know who is driving. While driving through a semi-residential area we pass an elderly, grey-haired woman buried up to her neck in gravel alongside the road. I can’t believe my eyes. We turn around to see her again. I point her out to my mom The old woman smiles as we pass; she appears to be satisfied and in some bizarre way benefitting from her experience. My Mom sees her, too. I awake.

All relationships are changing. A fluid unity is evolving. The sacramentalization of life is happening in ways I never imagined. Midlifery is magnificent, with the emphasis on “Life”.

(Author’s address: 7 Gr. Mt. Dr.,

Burnsville, N.C.)

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