Unfortunately, during this time we tend to recall fewer dreams as we feel that we simply haven’t got time to remember them or think about them. By the time we are in our forties, however, many of us begin to catch our breath and start to reflect on our lives so far. Often in the middle of our lives there is a feeling that some kind of change is essential. For example, we may explore our creative potential, go back to school, change career or partner, take up an exciting new sport, downsize and so on.
If you are in your forties, your dreams may well reflect this craving for change with their themes of adventure, romance and daring, but if this craving isn’t acknowledged, themes of conflict and aggression may feature strongly in your dreams.
The need to look back at your early promise may also prompt dreams of school, old friends or the search for a lost car. During the middle years you may also find yourself with the new-found responsibility of caring for parents with failing health. Not surprisingly dreams experienced if this is the case often involved themes of escape—part of you wishes to be free from this enormous responsibility. In waking life, you may take your duties seriously but this cannot stop your dreaming mind booking your parents—or parents-in-law—on a plane to nowhere or on an endless cruise.
If you aren’t in this stage of life, a dream about fast forwarding or returning to your thirties and forties will most likely reflect your growing sense of responsibility and longing to make your mark on the world.
One of the most common dreams in midlife is that of the lost car. You park the car and return to find it’s gone. You wander anxiously around the area but cover the same ground with no results. In short, this is a dream about feeling lost because you have followed the rules rather than your instinct or intuition.
If you have this dream, the indication is that some part of your waking life is unfulfilling and you feel as if you have lost something precious; you are not only upset when you recognize you have lost it but your life comes to a complete standstill. Another common dream at this time is that of a forgotten baby or child; in this dream, you are going about your routine as normal but hear a child or baby crying. You search for a while then discover a baby or child in the cupboard and suddenly realize that they have been in there, not for hours, but for days. You are filled with feelings of shock and regret. The baby in the dream indicates the part of yourself that was initiated and then abandoned; for example, a college education that was postponed for marriage. In other words, the child is something you began but set aside. Such dreams emerge to remind you that it is not too late to exploit your hidden potential or rediscover an idea or passion from the past.