Hello, my name is Cliff. I live in…
Wait – we did this already…
Hi! I’m a year older. I think I’m just going to leave Fridays for freewrites – holy crap, I didn’t even mean to do that – FREEWRITE FRIDAYS!! Heck, yes.
But “freewrite” does not necessarily mean “stream of consciousness” – though perhaps in this case we’ll just let “freewrite” stand for that. In Cliff’s Blog World, “freewrite” = “stream of consciousness” (also in CBW, “freewrite” exists as a real term, impervious to MS Word’s red squigglies of admonition).
K - Enough self-indulgent exposition.
Never in my life did I comprehend what “31” would be like. Imagination meets reality. It’s everything I imagined “being grown-up” would be like but so much more because it’s actually real. Have you ever imagined something being a certain way and then it happens, and it’s like, “Oh, that’s it?” Because on one hand you built up a lot of fantasy in your mind but then it happens and it’s like, “That’s…normal.” But then later you realize, “That’s actually quite extraordinary” and the extra-ordinariness comes from the fact that it’s so freakin’ normal! It’s real. Whatever the something is, no matter how much you imagine about it, you can’t take away from the realness and reality of it.
Your first kiss. Your first movie. Your first date. Your first completed book (reading or writing). Your first “A” in college.
Conversely, if you do get a high from the whatever you’ve built up, that high will quickly diminish. If you’re like a lot of people, including yours truly, you start itching for another high. So then you start looking for another one, another first or something; ultimately it’s another fantasy, a chasing of the end of the rainbow; keeping your eyes peeled for the next flash in the pan. That’s all it really is if you seek nothing but the thrill of the chase. What do you end up catching? Not what you hoped for ‘cuz it doesn’t meet your expectations.
Reality is not fleeting. Fantasy is. Fantasy is fun and can help you get through the day, but reality is the day. However, if there was no reality there’d be no fantasy. Fantasy’s a part of reality just like the appendix is part of the body. Every part of the body has its time to shine, but you don’t focus on one bit for too long or something’s going to go wrong (unless it already has and that’s why you’re in surgery).
I think that’s what this last trip around the sun has been about – living in the world of reality while letting fantasy play its part. When you live in the world strictly as you perceive it and not deferring to the reality of it, you run the risk of a huge disappointment.
Imagine, if you will, during the course of a month, people start telling you that you’re living in a dream world; they encourage you to abandon ship and wake up. You think they’re crazy; you think everything’s fine. Perhaps there are some “choppy waters” you’re facing, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. And then one day, you realize everyone else is right. Like Neo coming out of the Matrix; like waking up and seeing what you once thought were palaces and spires were actually piles of rubble and dead, rotting trees. Imagine everything you ever hoped for and dreamed of turning on you and leaving you and going off to fulfill someone else’s dream – because that’s what happens when you let fantasy become your reality.
Fantasy is fleeting. Reality is not. Yet, they are vital parts of each other, all wrapped up in a wondrous concept, barely comprehensible: FAITH – where the rubber hits the road, where fantasy meets reality. Of course, it depends on what you put your faith in that will determine your destiny. And yes, I do believe our destinies are determined outside of ourselves, yet, from a certain point of view we are responsible for choosing our destinies. Paradox – always fun when it’s not teeth-grindingly frustrating beyond compare. But then you just relax and realize, “It is what it is. I believe it because I recognize it as true. My believing doesn’t make it true, and so I defer to it, not it to me.”
We all believe in something. Even if we are nihilists we still believe in the concept of nothing which is something. There’s no escaping it – it’s just how we are. So if I may try to impart some wisdom on my birthday, believe in something. Embrace it and test it. Test it to make sure it’s true. And believe – believe with all your heart. Let it wreck your life and if what you believe is true, it will rebuild your life. How can you plant a crop if the soil isn’t first broken? How can you build a house if the stone and wood aren’t cut from the earth? How can you make an omelet without cracking some eggs?