Thursday, 20 August 2015

Fantasy vs Reality

Me on results day night :)

I was in one of my city's big libraries earlier this week (just about the best library ever, by the way) and I was reading a book about the nature of lies and why we tell them. There was a chapter about fantasies, and it basically explained that we fantasize because we can't live with the true version of events and so we make stuff up to survive.

It was a philosophy book and so I won't go into it that much, but this is a direct quote:

"When we measured our puny self against the vastness of the world, we saw how powerless we were. We had to create fantasies in order to survive both physically and as a person."

This is what I had been doing for the whole time I was on holiday in preparation for results day which was this time last week. But actually, I did things the other way around, because I forced myself to think that I would fail everything (trust me, I was definitely in a position to fail) and then create a fantasy of the world I would live in after results day. 

The world I created was one of anger and loneliness and despair, because I genuinely thought that's how I was going to feel when I opened my results. I pictured myself going on depressing walks along canals, throwing myself into my work in an attempt to forget my final grades, and doing a lot of crying. I thought I had to create this world in preparation, so that I wasn't shocked, but ready for a life of misery.

Then results day came along, and the reality of the situation was... weird. It was like something I have been fantasising about my whole life but gave up on a few weeks beforehand because there was a 99.9% chance it was never going to happen. 

I opened the envelope.

I saw my grades.

I heaved a sigh of pure relief.

The strange and angry images that I had been building up in my head of what I thought life was going to be like suddenly had no purpose, and there was no need for my fantasy. The thought that I had plans and a vision of what would happen if I had failed myself had been keeping me sane, and left me feeling sane in the end.

Instead, I went for a glorious walk with my crazy friends in the middle of the night after we had celebrated with a get-together in one of their houses and danced around parks in the pitch black to Taylor Swift and Fall Out Boy. It was better than anything I could have imagined. 

If I had done things the other way around and fantasised about doing amazingly well, and then opened my results to see that I had failed, then my fantasy would have completely shattered my reality. Doing things a different way for a change helped me survive physically and as a person, and my reality was a lot healthier in return.

I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say... maybe I've confused everyone? But the main point of my argument is that the book explains that your reality is never the same as your fantasies, so choose your fantasies well.

It's really good to have dreams and ideas of what you want your life to be, but you need to find some sanity in your fantasies or otherwise your reality will be destroyed for you. Fantasies are meant to keep us alive, and so don't let them ruin you.

Side note: I got AAAC in my A-Level results, and my reality is much better than how I fantasised it to be. 

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