July 16, 2009

Hogwarts, Jane Austen and Handing Out Flowers in the Valley

Inside my brain is a part of my imagination that sometimes wishes I were born with magical powers and could attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is the same part of my brain that wishes I were in a Meg Ryan movie from the 90s or a heroine in a Jane Austen novel.

Most of the time, however, I beat that part of my imagination into submission and force it to only come out on special occasions. Like Wednesday afternoons. Or while I'm drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper.

But honestly, I do have to try not to focus on fantasy and fictional happiness very often. Imagination is a wonderful thing, but left to its own devices, it can end up being a way to escape from reality and turn into a crutch that turns into a wheelchair that turns into a bed where you never get up and do anything real.

It's especially easy to fall into an imagined world when you're in one of life's valleys. Until recently, whenever I imagined the ups and downs of life, I pictured it to be like a roller coaster. You have fast ups, followed by fast downs. But as soon as you hit bottom, you go right back up. I'm realizing that life is not like that. Ups and downs are much more gradual and the downs often last longer than expected. Life is made mainly of plateaus. Plateaus in the good parts of life and the bad parts.

I've been in the down part of life for several weeks now. Now, I realize that my down is nothing compared to the majority of the world. I've had it pretty easy. It's easy for me to fuss at myself and wonder why I'm whining--but then I remember that pain and suffering is relative. But then I also remember that the valleys are where soil is the most fertile (I heard that in a movie somewhere I think. Cliche but true.).

So this is where the imagination comes in handy. Yes, life has its down parts. But I like to imagine that I'm driving a 1968 red convertible Mustang through the valley. I'm blaring happy music as I drive. And the passenger seat is full of flowers of all types and in every color.

As I drive by others in the valley, I hand them a flower and we listen to the music together and talk about what brought us to the valley. When we part ways, we feel a little better just having someone to talk to. And who wouldn't feel better after receiving their very own flower?

So I guess that the imagination can be helpful. But like all things, in moderation. Always in moderation.

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