We spend one third of our lives in a state of sleep (unconscious existence), which is referred to as a natural mechanism for restoring energy and giving our bodies much-needed rest at night. As we get older, the duration of such rest tends to become more and more prolonged in order to maintain our vital functions at an appropriate rate as we age. But what about the subconscious side of brain activity? Does it go through a completely different set of transformations compared to the young age and how do symbolic visions change over the span of our life?
Undeniably, during the younger formative years, when the very foundation of memory and cognition is shaped, our subconscious reflections capture a great variety of new imagery, visual and sensory aspects of the everyday life. No wonder, adolescents experience very diverse, if not chaotic dream visions comprised of interwoven symbolic elements accumulated during the wake hours. It would probably be a complicated task for a young person to sort out distinct and discernible visions contained in their dreams in order to interpret them in a meaningful way. The exploratory nature of human mind causes us to retain important moments of our lives, but in a very erratic and disorderly way, so their analysis as far as dream interpretation is concerned, becomes difficult, if not impossible altogether. At this stage we could draw an analogy of subconscious brain activity resembling a computer file system which is being constantly updated without a whole lot of sorting and categorizing of the individual files within that system.
As we age, we gain more experience and start to separate discrete events in our “file system” into more stable and recognizable elements, which are often compiled, coded and stored based on their importance to us. Over the span of our lives, we increasingly attribute more significance to some events while forgetting or even completely ignoring those that seem mundane and unworthy of remembering to us. Figuratively speaking, the subconscious retention at this stage could probably be compared to an old vinyl record etched with certain well-defined and vivid symbolic visions coming alive during our sleep and leaving lasting recollections long after we wake up and go on with the conscious existence.
Therefore, it is clear that only discrete and isolated symbolic dream visions become more profound and prominent as we go through the process of maturation. And the biggest questions for any dreamer who is experiencing these recurring symbols and visions later in life are why do some certain symbolic dream elements take over less important ones and how could they be interpreted in a meaningful way, since they were “distilled” by the memory and recorded as distinct marks in our subconsciousness.
Would it be fair to say that older people are capable of finding and identifying much more relevant meanings for the dreams they experience because the “search terms” of their inquiries are considerably narrower, more precise and more defined? Does the number of years lived matter in symbolic dream interpretation just because our long life experience helped us keep only the most memorable life moments and important milestones retained as symbols and visions of our dreams?