Watching TV and reading books is by far one of my favorite ways of passing time. When I'm not binge watching or looking up movie soundtracks and post-film interviews, I find myself day dreaming in lecture about last nights episode or coming up with a number of alternative endings while I drive home from school. Walter Mitty isn't the only person living a secret life.
I love fiction. I love dystopian societies, coming of age plots, melodramatic love stories, and the journey of a hero. I love helping Scott Mccall and his wolf pack take down his next malevolent mythological villain. I love using my mediocre knowledge about law and criminology to help Annalise and the Keating 5 get away with their next murder. I love delving into the unknown, the completely surreal and utterly fascinating spirit realm crafted by Miyazaki. I want the call to adventure and the threshold to my next voyage. I want to climb mountains, face adversity, cross paths, jump off buildings, get hurt, and get back up. I want to resurrect from rock bottom and return home with the elixir of life.
I guess the real reason I love movies and shows is because I get to step away from the drama of my own life and be completely absorbed in another. I've become so enthralled with the idea of leaving my monotonous routine and escaping (even if it's for 60 minutes or less) to a world where I can be and do anything. Most of all, I love fiction because the hero always triumphs. Despite any adversity and sudden death, some miraculous intervention rekindles their strength and will, enough to help them complete their conquests.
I don't always win. I fail, accomplish a little, and fail a lot more. The race gets hard to run and the waves get stronger. The tides pull me in deeper and I sink a lot quicker. How do I face the demons and shadows in my life; the internal and external conflicts like getting into my major, my self-diagnosed anxiety and broken relationships. Where's my trusted ally and fairy god mother to save me and give me strength? When will I spread my wings and catch myself from a fall or evolve in the midst of chaos. I don't, but my favorite fictional characters always do. I have more confidence and reassurance in their success over my own.
Life isn't fiction. That's the reason why we love them. It's the same reason why authors write them. We escape our reality and make a new one that surpasses any boundaries and limitations that we face in our own lives. It's a controlled dream. And while I advocate the importance of dreaming and relaxing, I also realize how detrimental it is to pick the red pill and dive into the rabbit hole. It's escapism. Rather than escaping, be inspired by the trials and tribulations of your favorite heroes. Believe in yourself the way you believe in them. When you look at your life in retrospect, you start to notice all of the failures and successes and how each of those have affected your own heroic journey. We might not have a Sam to our Frodo, but we do have loyal companions and allies. We might not have Dumbledore or Professor X telling us our next best move, but we do have parents, teachers and mentors who are all willing to help support us in our own journeys. Our entire life is a monomyth; a journey not seen or read, but felt and experienced.