DEAR ABBY: I would like to comment on the letter from "Once a Mechanic ... in Arizona" (Dec. 24), who still dreams about his job even though he is now retired. I once worked in the customer service department of a major retailer. During one Christmas season, a recurring dream would interrupt my sleep each night. In my dream, my bedroom door would open and a stream of customers would file in and line up next to my bed, their arms loaded down with purchases or returns.
After many frustrating nights of restless sleep, I finally figured out a solution. I envisioned a flashing neon sign on my headboard that read: "Lane Closed." The following night when the customers began filing in, I took control. I sat up and pointed to the flashing sign above my bed. The customers turned around, walked out the door, and my sleep wasn't disturbed again.
"Mechanic" needs to acknowledge that it is only a dream and direct it on a different path, as you suggested, by thinking about his hobbies or his family. Dreams are a part of our subconscious, but that doesn't mean we can't control their content. -- DREAM WEAVER IN MANITOWOC, WIS.
DEAR DREAM WEAVER: Thank you for sharing your solution for achieving peaceful slumber. Allow me to offer another: Each night before I fall asleep, I say my prayers and count my blessings, one by one. "Sweet dreams are made of these ..." Read on:
DEAR ABBY: A rich and blessed retirement sounds wonderful. If the dreams of "Mechanic's" lifelong trade persist and he finds he really misses working, there is a way to honor that gift while still enjoying his retirement. He should check around to see if there are any mentoring programs in his area offered through social services. I'm sure many teens and young men would appreciate knowing someone with his skills. -- JAN IN SPRING, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: I have a master's degree in physics and have been known to solve calculus problems in my dreams. "Mechanic" should understand he is not alone, and probably was very good at his job. -- A.J. IN LITTLETON, COLO.
DEAR ABBY: I used to work in several demanding areas at a manufacturing plant, and I would often dream about being unable to keep up with production. Finally, I learned to relax and say, "Let the night shift do it!" Then I would be able to move on to a better dream. Now that I'm retired, I still dream occasionally about going back -- but only to visit, never to work. -- DAYDREAMER, OLIVET, MICH.
DEAR ABBY: Because "Mechanic" enjoys doing transmission repairs even though he is retired, perhaps he could make some sort of arrangement to offer his expertise to low-income families who have cars in need of repairs. It would be a way of helping people with a need while doing what he did for so long and misses. -- A FELLOW ARIZONAN
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