Fiction vs Reality: how to balance the real world with fantastical expectations
Reading from a young age can not only make you smarter, expand your vocabulary, enhance your ability to empathize, and widen your world-view, but it can also lead to smashed dreams. SIGH. What do I mean by this? Oh surely as a fellow book lover you know. What I mean is that since I was a wee little child I’ve read books filled with grand adventure and destiny. I’m not the most whimsical person but even I had a small part of myself that hoped I’d get into Hogwarts, hoped the back of the next wardrobe would take me into Narnia, hoped that when I turned the magical age of 16 I’d discover magical powers, meet my soulmate, and save the world, hope that…well, you get the idea haha. Suffice it to say that I’m in my mid-twenties and I’ve yet to have anything nearly as exciting happen in my real life.
I mean, okay, did I ever really believe any of the stuff I read in books would happen to me? No, but if I’m slightly embarrassingly honest I’ll admit that a tiny part of me dared hope. But I figure that instead of dying old, alone, and bitter after a lifetime of waiting I’d write this silly post on digging through the illusion of fantasy and retrieving the essence which can be found in our mundane world.
Note: Feel free to laugh along with this post. It’s meant to be (mostly) humorous…
WILL SAVING THE WORLD EVER BE MY JOB DESCRIPTION?
Okay, are you ever going to save the world with a ragtag team of unlikely heroes? Um, it’s doubtful. But what you can do is better the world either through career choice, charities, or volunteer work. It’s honestly so easy to help improve the world both locally and globally, just most of us don’t bother to take the time. But I assure you it’s a real thing.
SOULMATES. WHERE MINE BE AT?
Will you ever stumble across the path of your perfect custom-made soulmate who will be the most attractive and perfect person in the whole universe? Yeah, whether you believe in soulmates or not they’re probably not going to be even close to perfect. This is an issue even brought up thanks to social media, movies, etc. When we only see the good and happy we assume that that’s what we should aim for so when we meet someone, develop into a relationship with them, and then something gets hard or goes awry we immediately dump their imperfect carcass and continue our hunt for “the perfect one”. Well first of all no one is perfect so go ahead and toss that out the window. The only “perfect” people exist in fiction. *sigh* But this is actually good! Because I know I’m incredibly flawed so now there’s less pressure to be who I’m not. Instead of scouring the earth for the perfect singular soulmate and growing bitter when we can’t find them, take your favorite fictional crushes and figure out the qualities that make you so attracted to them (non-physical characteristics; also no, “magical powers” doesn’t count. lol). If you let go of your checklist but keep your standards high with regard to character and choose to put in the work and communication required for a long-term relationship then swooning for “the one” is absolutely possible. They won’t be the universal ideal soulmate but they’ll be “the one” for you and honestly that’s all that matters.
WILL I EVER BE…THE CHOSEN ONE?
Are you ever going to be the unexpected or prophesied singular person on whom the future of the world hinges? Mmmmmmm probably not. Honestly though this should be a load off your shoulders, at least it is mine! WAY too much pressure and responsibility! You’d probably die early from stress assuming you don’t mess up and die in battle. I’ve never believed in this “chosen one” nonsense. I lean more towards the likelihood of self-fulfilling prophecies or happenstance of circumstance. If you want the glory of feeding the world or curing a disease or toppling a tyrannical regime then by all means go forth and be fruitful. Don’t wait around for permission or for some ancient mage to call up your name from some ancient tome of prophecies, just go do it!
ONE TICKET FOR ADVENTURE & MAGICAL REALMS PLEASE!
Maybe we won’t ever be able to frolic through candy cane forests or eat enchanted fruit, but if you don’t think the world we live in is beautiful, diverse, and incredibly interesting then you need to check yourself. Sometimes I get overwhelmed just following Instagram accounts of photographers who travel haha. But that’s the key here: travel. Whether by foot, train, plane, or automobile you can experience new cultures and discover incredible sights just by wandering both intentionally and accidentally. There’s plenty of places you can seek out thanks to travel bloggers, but there’s also so much that remains unknown but worth discovering. Oh, what about money you ask? You’re right traveling is incredibly expensive depending on where you live and how far you want to go. And then there’s the cost of food, lodging, and some countries even charge you to pee. Um…well since money apparently doesn’t grow on trees *grumble grumble* the best thing you can do is save. Save up every nickel and dime, set aside smaller trips to save up for a dream big trip. Also use the internet! There’s lots of great deals for travel and lodging if you’re determined enough to find them.
LAND OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. DEF NOT L.A.
This is one of the weirdest perceptions pushed by Hollywood and books in my opinion. A teenager saving the world makes more sense. Honestly if I woke up and found myself surrounded by “perfect” looking people (and don’t even get me started on the constantly shifting standards of “beauty”) then I’d be terrified that I was being held prisoner in a Barbie DreamHouse *shivers*. Besides, those “beautiful” people you see on TV and magazines? Three words: Professional Makeup Team. Instead of being the shallow person many cultures try to subtly (or not so subtly) imbed in us, look within. Haha yes I know that’s such an overused cheesy thing but it’s true. I hate those embroidered pillow sayings as much as the next cynical muggle but hey, sometimes they’re right and we just have to accept it. It’s pretty obvious that “unattractive” people with kind souls are far more preferred than “beautiful” but cold souls. Way too stressful to be surrounded by too much enforced perfection and back-stabbing haha. Just let it go. Let you be you and let others be them. Even if that means stepping out into public *gasp* without any makeup on. Trust me, people don’t care nearly as much as you think they do. (And if you’re concerned because you’re on the hunt for a soulmate then please go back and re-read my spew under that category. A soulmate would love you without those terrifying spider legs on your eyes that you insist on glueing to your real lashes each morning and if they don’t then they’re an a-hole and not soulmate worthy material. Move on.)
WHERE ARE THE SUPERNATURAL CREATURES?
Ah yes, supernatural creatures. Now I know some people believe in them but I think it’s fair to say that most do not but many wouldn’t mind being proven wrong (assuming that they don’t eat you and instead embrace you into their fold as the chosen one. Ha.). I can’t really help with this dream of yours but I can say this if you don’t think some of our earthly creatures aren’t weird, magical, or terrifying then think again. Just take a day on Google and you’ll feel a bit better.
Having that special group of people who have your back no matter what stupid or dangerous decision you make (obviously in an effort to save the world as the chosen one) is one of the most coveted factors in a good story. But can it be ours? I think so. I mean, if Stranger Things has taught us anything it’s that even a group of nerdy non-atheltic middle school kids can create the ultimate team. And maybe your epic squad won’t face monsters or slay an evil king, but they could be the team you need behind you when you have to deal with a ruthless boss, participate in a bar crawl, recover from a broken heart, go grocery shopping during a Back-to-School sale, sleep in a van when you decide to road trip, or keep you sober when you have to face your in-laws for the holidays. Never underestimate a good friend.
HAVING TO POOP. HOW CAN I AVOID THIS?
Okay a bit gross but fair question. Somehow the majority of characters avoid constant potty breaks even when you know they’ve been hydrating and eating like a starving beast. Um…yeah no there’s no solution for this. You stop pooping, you die. You stop eating to stop pooping, you die slower but still die. Just get over it. It’s often smelly, sometimes noisy, always inconvenient and mildly unpleasant, but it’s something that unites every creature on Earth. Just take comfort knowing that even the most vile of dictators has times where they cry on the toilet from some bad kimchi…right before they execute their chef.
There are probably a ton of other things I could’ve included in this ridiculous post but it was hella fun putting it together anyway. So yeah, maybe Earth isn’t quite Narnia or Hogwarts or Prythian or literally anywhere fictional, but it’s home and it’s better than we think. Quit looking for “perfection” and instead look for the inherent beauty, adventure, darkness, and needs of the world we are in. Will it ever be enough for book addicts like us? I don’t know honestly. But at least try, yeah? I mean we’ve got nowhere else to go so why not make lemons out of lemonade.
P.S. But if you DO find a magic portal to an epic realm, you’d better hit me up haha