At least, there isn’t enough appreciation for the wonder in our world, in my opinion. There is such a variety of wonderful and fantastic things in the real world, that I almost forget about the terrible and mundane things. Almost, but not quite. A child’s laughter, the sun sparkling off ocean waves, snow falling from a sky backlit by a small town’s streetlights, all of these things, and a million more besides can make me smile involuntarily. That doesn’t negate the awful signs of hate, discontent, and malice in the world. It just holds a candle up to push back the dark until the sunrise.
The fantastic elements of stories are an exaggeration of those wonderful and awful things. They provide a way for us to see in bolder terms or with bigger stakes, the same ideas in the real world. Life doesn’t need those elements from our imagination. Sometimes it’s hard enough to deal with punching in to work, paying the light bill on time, and keeping food on the table. Humans yearn for more than survival though, we want the dragons, soaring castles, and enchanted forests to challenge us safely from the confines of a story. There is joy and wonder in triumphing over adversity, real or imagined.
So next time you feel a wave of self-doubt, lingering sadness, or cloying fear about this world we live in, hold on to the wonder you’ve felt before. My advice may not be a panacea for every situation. But I believe hope springs eternal, nourished by such small sources of joy as these. Our collective experience of living, is made up of the sum of all the highs and lows we feel. Choose joy when you can, find strength in yourself, and give others what grace you can manage. That’s all any of us can do, with all the wonders and horrors in the world aside.