The story

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine a few weeks ago that struck a fascinating chord. Somehow we got on the topic of dating and first dates and the awkwardness of the last moments. At one point after a sip of margarita he said, "I don't know - I'm just not the kind of person to kiss someone on the first date." Curious, I asked why. Very frankly, the shrugged slightly and looked me square in the eyes and said, "That's just not how the story goes." A few weeks earlier I had a drink with an old female friend from college who mentioned that she doesn't enjoy romantic comedies at all. Why? "Because they're so unrealistic."

Over the last few weeks it led to more introspection over a topic I've thought much about over the years - how much we fall in love and chase after ideals we've found in movies and fairy tales. To be totally curt on relationships: do you fall in love with the girl or with the story? The story varies by person but usually goes something like this: work hard in school, find love, graduate, find the job of your dreams, get married, buy a house with a white picket fence, a dog and a few kids, and they lived happily ever after. The steps may be slightly different and include other steps or in a different order, but I bet you've heard the story at least once before.

It's interesting to see how many people (including myself) have fallen into that - falling in love with the story they hope they can achieve in their current situation and letting that infatuation totally overpower the realities that are present. I think in a lot of cases it's what causes you to do things for seemingly unexplained reasons. Why do so many people work towards being an engineer or a pharmacist when they really wanted to be an artist or a photographer? Or date people that don't match them at all because one quality is exactly how they imagined? Usually because they cling onto the fairy tales they want out of their lives so much that they're not willing to do the hard work to mold the hands they've been dealt into something they may love even more.

I realize I'm not being as astute as I would want, but sitting here in my perfect little house with a perfect little Christmas tree and a perfect fire roaring in the fireplace, it all makes sense in my head how much this is just half of my fairy tale. So I'll go ahead and stop trying to articulate and end on the final words that came out of my tv from an episode of How I Met Your Mother:

Robin: How do you do this Ted? How do you sit out here all night, in the cold, and still have faith that your pumpkin's going to show up?
Ted: Well, I'm pretty drunk. Look I know the odds are, the love of my life isn't going to magically walk through that door in a pumpkin costume at 2:43 in the morning. But it just seems as nice a spot as any to just ... you know, sit and wait.


Anonymous said...

The way I see it...what is the wellspring of any good story? Creativity.
We don't all want (or need) white picket fences - even if we think we do. And wanting and wishing are powerful forces that can blind us to reality.

So I think what everyone needs is to...think creatively. Act creatively. Try things. Find out what you *really* want out of life, and try to make it happen. And when reality comes crashing down, trying to shatter the perfect little worlds we build...think around it. Act around it. Build around it. Learn to *balance* what we want and what is, our fantasies and realities.

It needn't be said, that this is easier said than done. But the point is that we keep trying. That we don't let reality, or fantasy, become our total. That we don't try to live in a fantasy world, nor let our hearts become too hard to feel wonder again.

I'm still pretty far from my ideal life...and we've discussed before how our successes are somewhat opposite. But the most difficult part for me is not giving up. Not sitting back and saying "good enough, I'll just be moderately unhappy". But I...try to keep trying. I figure if I poke enough spots in Life I'll find one with real *give*.

Humanity is, at least in part, defined by our curiosity and ambition. I will probably always want more than I can attain.
But I have hope that if I keep trying to figure out what I want out of life, I'll eventually find all that life will let me have. And that sounds good to me.

- Michael

nozomiyume said...

Yup, absolutely. Couldn't have said it better myself. My original post was fairly muddled.

All that being said, it's good to have you saying things like that :)

Ali said...

ah, the fairy tale....my life was always far from it. While I believe in a good fairy tale, I know that reality is far from it. Good fairy tales don't have discussions about finance at the dinner table, or that great and laughable first time either person passes gas in front of the other person. I think it's good to sprinkle a little fairy tale in your life from time to time. Keeps you from being so serious.

As you WELL know, my relationships have been far from the fairy tale as well. I'm going about things a bit differently. But fairy tales are good to keep around because when you do have kids, you get to see the fairy tale through their eyes and it is such an emotional thing. It reminds you why you believed in fairy tales in the first place.

Don't let go of your fairy tale. :-)