(A complicated dream in which) I am taking a final exam for my final course needed to complete my degree. I see a number of young men and women whom I have met (and liked) at one time or another recently or in the course of my undergrad career, etc. Yet none of these can help me now. It is all up to me to complete as best I can a complicated and lengthy exam booklet in the time allotted. A sympathetic instructor (reminds me of my recent volunteer coordinator with Austin Partners in Education) is rooting for me as she hands me my test booklet, yet there is also likely nothing she can do now.
I begin alright, the booklet's first series of questions being multiple choice and asking for the best interpretations of reading passages' themes or meanings. I am not sure of some but think that by guessing at those I am still doing OK overall. The completion of the exam is taking me too long, though, and I sense that others are moving through it more quickly. The next section is confusing. I wonder if it is about areas of knowledge I somehow missed during the course. Some questions are sophisticated queries about art, others about medicine. Then things are even more confusing, and I do not even understand where and how I am to place my answers on the booklet pages. In certain instances it appears there are panels behind which there are fill-in-the-blank spaces, yet there are also places on the same pages for more complex interpretations. Time seems to be speeding by, and I am feeling increasingly overwhelmed, confused, anxious, distracted, and at a loss. I notice that a number of others seem to be finished and are handing in their exam booklets. I get turned around, as though I physically cannot stand the constraint of a traditional seat and orientation for taking so complicated and time-intensive an exam. I had started the exam feeling determined that this time I'd finally finish this last course successfully. Now it seems I am failing.
A bunch of people I don't know come into the exam room and are sitting around talking loudly, watching a nearby big-screen TV. I yell at them to respect that this is a testing room, to no avail. They ignore me. I look around for the instructor and cannot see her anymore.
I almost start a fight with a fellow for not turning off the TV. He gives me some taunting reply, like "You think you want to bust my chops? Well, go ahead, take your best shot. See what it gets you!"
My brother, Allen, intervenes, calming me down, pointing out this fellow feels he needs to be there between about 4-9 PM to check on things (as if for his investments). I empathize and try to make it up with the guy. We seem to see each other's points of view.
I rush off to a part of the now crowded room, no seats anymore, just milling people and a few mats, like for yoga or gymnastics. I sit or kneel on a gray one of these in a corner, well away from where I had started out taking the exam.
I look in the booklet again, to resume taking the test, but the it now seems thicker and even more complex, and I have lost my place. I frantically try to answer any questions I can, right where the booklet is now open, hoping for at least some credit, maybe at least getting a "D" in the test, maybe barely finishing the course even if not well. But these questions seem way over my head. I ask someone else about the booklet, and (he? she?) says it looks like I've mislayed (mislaid) the instruction sheet I was to have followed in how to use the booklet. Oh yes, I realize, I must have set it down before rushing over here. Now what do I do!? I try to go back and find it, but it is hopeless. Some other class is coming in here now. I still have no luck finding the instructor, and now I have lost the booklet too. I hope that whenever time was up for the exam, even if she could not find me, she at least found my answers in the booklet and that maybe by some miracle I'll have done enough to have passed.
I see more people I had known, in Alanon or in class, etc. Again they seem friendly but unaware of the private tragedy through which I am going. I try to use my cell phone to call the instructor, but cannot reach her. I attempt to go meet her, for I think I know where she might be. Maybe if I explain how confused I got in trying to take the exam she'll give me another chance. Maybe there is still some way out of this besides total failure.
[I wake up then, still very anxious and despairing at first, but gradually become aware it was a dream, that in fact I am not taking an exam, that things are alright. I realized that this and other similar dreams could be about coming to the end of life itself and with maybe worries that there is now not time to finish well, by some measures or interpretations of what my life "should" be (or have been) about. Or perhaps it is my ego that realizes his days are numbered and that he has too little to show for them. Yet egos can be easily replaced, and maybe the next one will be better adjusted, more flexible.
Of the volunteer coordinator, I'd say she is attractive, smart, personable, conscientious, and kind. Not a bad anima or female aspect of myself to have!
Of my shadow, Allen, I'd say he is not happily married, is taken advantage of by his childish, willful, self-absorbed spouse, is easily frustrated in some things, does not supervise their kids that well, yet he is reasonably smart, a fairly good and patient father in some ways, is quite tolerant, also ethical, and a dedicated meditator.]