When I was 10, I dreamed of being a nurse. The dream was pale in hue, a light sterile green, because that was the color of hospital walls then and I didn’t know any better. But I was told, by someone who thought she was being kind and giving me good advice, that I should be a doctor because they made more money, and although she didn’t say directly–they have more status and are more important. So the green became darker and bolder, because it now represented money.
By 15 I dreamed of just making it through high school and getting into college. My dreams were darker, hospitable to those things that are not invited, but still arrive in the night. I was really terrible at science. I no longer dreamed of being a nurse or a doctor.
At 20 I dreamed of being accepted, part of the cool girls clique at college. The dream was in reds, not the bold hue of an “arrest-me-red” sports car, but a pale, pale red, of blushing, hesitancy, uncertainty, an appropriate female-type red. I knew I wasn’t cool.
At 25 I dreamed in grays and pinstripes, classic colors for office girl attire; living on my own, keeping company with loneliness; longing for brighter hues and vibrant colors for my dreams.
At 30, I dreamed of a white wedding dress that I wasn’t sure I would ever wear and the red of valentine hearts from someone I probably would never meet.
At 35 I met the someone and got the dress and began to dream in the daytime, because being in relationship can often be so much more difficult than being lonely.
At 40 I dreamed in pink and blue, for the children of my dreams who were never there in the morning. When we finally became a family, just not in the way we had originally expected, my dreams for them came in all the colors of the rainbow.
At 50 I fell in love with the poem about wearing more purple and a red hat when I was old, but 50 is not old and I hadn’t started to dream old lady dreams yet. But I resolved that when I did, my dreams would be in purple.
At 60 I made peace with the fact that I do not look so good in a red hat and that purple clothes designed for “mature” ladies are not so much to my liking.
At 70 my dreams are finally colored in peacefulness and serenity; in kindness and compassion; in blessing and love that, despite its fragile nature, can change the world. This is one of the surprising gifts that has come to me as I have learned to make peace with aging and its inevitable flow toward the end. I will dream this way for the rest of my life.