You know how myths and legends are actually early stage psychiatry?
They are stories that illustrate behaviors, offer life lessons and explore the dynamic between certain personalities. They demonstrate the impact of misunderstandings, the consequences of acting hastily and the importance of not dismissing people because they don’t meet your assessment of being a valuable player. They remind us of the need for courtesy to all (really, you just never know), and countless other helpful guideposts to better understand and survive in this complex world.
Jealous Hera, mischievous Loki, the old beggar woman asking for alms, the simple son, witches, goblins, vampires, werewolves, zombies….
Zombies! Yes, it sounds a bit ridiculous. Despite Haitan folklore, Vodou, Voodoo, or whatever spelling or incantation you choose—or even the possibility that the Undead do indeed walk—our present Zombie craze is highly stereotyped and stylized.
But you perhaps never thought of the Undead as a valuable life lesson—an accurate explanation of what life is actually like.
It all starts innocently enough, you’re living your life, hanging out with your classmates, co-workers, colleagues, spending days, months, often years together, cordial, close, connected. You chat, share meals, share stories, share your life, your dreams, your experiences.
You think you are surrounded by humans, but all it takes is a change to clarify who in your group are the living dead—surviving off flesh or brains—and who are actually human. You graduate, your kids go to different schools, you move, you change jobs, you retire. Suddenly, you no longer have a brain or flesh worth eating—you have nothing to offer.
In fairness, you can’t stay friends with everyone & the drifting apart is often mutual, but it’s still an odd feeling to achieve invisibility with people you may have seen every day for years.
Retirement may be the most challenging adjustment, as other changes often just trade one group of the Undead for another. Opting out of the workforce can often eliminate your usefulness to others quite dramatically. Suddenly, you have nothing worth eating….
Visiting the old workplace you realize you are a ghost in the machine—invisible to most. Though it can sometimes be quite surprising who you are visible to, and to whom you have disappeared.
Just like in a Zombie film the humans are often not the ones you would expect.
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