As humans on planet earth, life tends to throw us a series of reality-checks which knock us out of la-la land and place us back on track to live a reasonable existence. We need reality-checks in our lives so that we don’t get forever lost living in faulty assumptions that things will just happen the way we expect they will.
A rude awakening is often exactly what we need to process the true reality of a situation and make us confront how crummy our half-baked dream of marrying into the Kardashian family really is.
Sometimes we get too carried away with nonsensical ambitions and reality-checks happen because things all fall apart at once. When this happens we can be left shocked and appalled and curled up in a ball as we nut it out in therapy.
Other times we might get brutally nudged back into reality when someone has the tenacity to tell us how it really is. This might even happen by digesting some particularly confronting self-help material.
But if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be surrounded by a support network that you exchange thoughts and ideas with. Talking things out regularly and getting fresh perspectives helps you make your shit more real before things get too cray.
Some people get around their whole lives telling family and friends that they’re going to be rockstars and no one bothers to point out that they’ve been jamming in pubs for 43 years and only ever get paid in beer. These people risk living in unpopped bubbles for most of their lives. That is, until the bubble receives a pointy left jab and they’re left with the debris, questioning everything they ever knew; from the shitty guitar solo no one ever applauded, to all the substance located at the core of their identity.
I feel lucky enough to have never fallen on my butt so hard that it shattered all my assumptions into traumatized smithereens, but I also feel a little jibbed that it took me 34 and half years to realize that I was living in a fantasy.
I had someone talking to me the other day about how they always thought they’d become Australia’s second female prime minister, but after having a baby at 27 they realized that motherhood was much more in line with where they’d been putting their time and energy. Meanwhile, I was still coming to terms with the fact that I’d probably never become a rich and famous world-changer.
Having never really delegated a satisfactory amount of time and effort to that direction, my chances of being chased down a supermarket aisle by the papparzzi are bleak. Real success in any area takes hours upon hours of study, time, training and/or practice before it will even think about showing you the tip of its tiny shiny head. And even then there’s a lot of luck involved in being handed the right opportunities to see you excel.
You’ve heard it before in a 1970s rock hit, but here it is again: it’s a long way to the top, if you want to rock and roll.
It still weirds me out that I only recently had this realisation.
It was only after the launch of the global pandemic, where I was forced to stop, slow down and do more Netflix and chilling than I could handle that I was able to consider for a second that the dream I thought I was chasing is not the dream I had been chasing at all. It took the gentle nudges of my Latino pandemic partner that would allow some alternative perspectives to break into my paradigm.
So I’d spent my life moving through a tunnel with my visions and only now was I getting the help I needed to burn off the excess delusion I’d built up.
This important reality-check may have come late in life because I’m a particularly notorious dreamer, a bad listener and perhaps too fiery and stubborn to be told what’s up with a firm verbal backhand. But it’s refreshing to know that there’s hope for us all if we find a way to surround ourselves with people who cringe at the sight of us living like Walter Mitty.
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