This Is Your Real Life 101

We can only guess what flowers mean in dreams.
“We can only guess what flowers mean in dreams.”

One of my collages…

Are you living in a world of “the magic if”?

Actors know about the “magic if.” It’s a method they use to get fully into a role. It’s useful in stimulating emotional responses to whatever’s happening on the stage or screen. You see it all the time if you watch anything at all. You didn’t think those actors were really weeping at the funeral or frightened in that creepy old castle, did you?

Nah. Not with all the chaos and clamor surrounding a movie shoot or standing on a stage in front of a few hundred people. Actors use the “magic if.”

“Hey, what if your old dog Shep ran away and got hit by a car?” That’ll get the tears coming for the funeral scene. Or “What if you were giving a lecture and realized you didn’t have your pants on?” Well, this might depend on how much of an exhibitionist you are, but chances are you’d feel bad enough to demonstrate the required panic in the old castle.

Unfortunately, many of us make our way through real life confusing the “magic if” with the not-at-all magic “if only.” You know the one: If only… I could win the lottery … I could see my high school sweetheart again … My boss would give me that great job in Manhattan…I were shorter, taller, older, younger,  (name your own).

A variation of the game is to consider the big-picture past. If only… I had gone to Harvard… married the nerd who developed that billion dollar software program… spent more time studying for the exam… paid attention to that “road closed” sign… and the list goes on.

And what, I hear you ask, is the point here? The point, dear asker, is that “if only” will keep you from living your real life. Every. Damned. Time.

You want tulips in the spring? Well, then,  get to the garden store, buy the bulbs and plant them in the fall. You don’t wait until spring when everyone else’s tulips are in lovely bloom and whine, “If only…”

You want to work on art? Well, then, get out of your Laz-E-Boy, buy yourself some art supplies, take some classes – or don’t, and get busy. You don’t leave everything in the packages and whine, “If only I had the time, money, inspiration…”

As artist Chuck Close says, “I always thought that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

The point: You are not an actor on a stage or in a movie. You are a person in a real life. One shot. One time around. It’s a choice. Except for the lottery thing. I can’t help you there.

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