I once had a very startling dream.  I was walking through a building, past people of all types, and as I came out of a hallway into a large room I saw that the people around me were what I ended up calling the marshmallow dead people.  They were nothing like Zombies.  They were living people who had spent decades living on the memories of past experiences.  They had chosen not to have any new experiences, not to have lives of their own any more, and were attempting to thrive through retelling their stories and making you relive the story as well.   Like the guy from OfficeSpace who is still clinging to his Swingline stapler and refuses to acknowledge that he was fired quite some time ago and just keeps working because that’s who he is regardless of the reality.  In my dream the people all appeared normal on the outside, but you could see that their insides, the person or life spark that motivated them, had become squishy and gelatinous, like marshmallow after having been toasted over a fire.

These people are seemingly harmless to everyone other than themselves, however they need the support and input of others to keep the old stories alive and to feel that they are still part of something instead of stuck in a never-ending GroundHog’s day of the past.  They therefore delay, waylay, interrupt and disrupt those who are living their lives in the now.  I guess in that way they are like Zombies, because they want our brains to listen to their stories and validate them.  They want our hearts to support them in the lives they used to have. And they want our compassion so that we ignore who they are in the now and see them as who they have been.  Please don’t confuse these people with the elders among us who are to be respected and supported and cared for as their experience and their wisdom is a gift to our lives.  Listing to the stories of our elders, being with them through the time they are able to give us is a blessing and I feel grateful to be able to participate every day.

The Marshmallow Dead People can be of any age, can choose to withdraw from the real at any time, and can walk among us relatively unnoticed.  They are most usually unobtrusive and calm as they live out the movie of their past experiences over and over again.  However, as they command your attention and energy to deal with them, they siphon from you life that you could live for yourself and others in a productive way.  If nothing else they ruin a good mood and send you off spinning into that negative space of “oh, not again!” as they tell their story for the 400th time.  Remember, you are precious and unique and a bright light that improves everything it touches.  Value it and live your life to the fullest every day.