Reality bites, reality hurts
Reality will crush your soul, break your heart and leave you hanging. Reality will make you feel euphoric and high, just to remind you that each top comes with a fall. It feels like comfort, like when you wrap yourself with a blanket after a rough day at work. It’s a blessing, something to be grateful for. It’s a curse but a beautiful one, too.
Hi, Friend. Hey, don’t make that face, it’s all good. It’s not my story, I have for you. Or maybe it is? Maybe it’s yours? Your neighbor’s? That’s for us to figure out, my Friend. Since reality is changing, we must adapt. I want you to be ready – hence this story. And if it will sound familiar… Well.
How do I take off a mask when it stops being a mask, when it’s as much a part of me as I am?
Hey, but before I tell you how this brutal reality looks for that someone, do you want to see my apartment? It’s not ready yet and I should have the keys by the end of January, but we can sneak in. I brought tea. There is nowhere to sit, but I think they left some boxes we could use. This is my new reality – full of concrete-like tiles, grey-ish stairs and big bed. Cobalt couch, black kitchen and grey sink. Look at that wall – I will have my TV there. Maybe some decent sound system, so we could enjoy proper movie nights.
You pour the tea, and I realize that we are celebrating this as we were 70 years old. My mind feels this old and this tired, if I’m being honest. The stress, the anxiety and uncertainty – killer combination. But I know that this isn’t constant; it’s a phase. And phases come and go… This is the reality, for now.
I watch you look around and I try to imagine how this place will look like in 4 months. The spring sun will rise on the other side of the building, so I will have a sweet view on the sunset. Our cups click with each other as we drink in silence. Tea is steaming hot; unlike the story I want to share with you. You wait, patiently, as always – allowing me some time to gather my thoughts. It’s not my story, but it’s my obligation to share it.
Where do I start? Maybe with definition of reality…
Maybe wars aren’t meant to be won, maybe they’re meant to be continuous.
Have you ever wondered what this word actually means? Simple definition says it’s the state or quality of being real. Real… This is not objective. What is real to you, my Friend? From a philosophical point of view, reality is “something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive”.
Reality will crush you, no questions asked. The story I am about to tell you proves it, but it’s up to us to decide, if we will let our hero fight back. Ready? I look at you, leaning towards me with curiosity. Is anyone ever ready, though?
Imagine you live in a good world. Your world – family, friends. Life is good, and there is no reason to complain. Reality seems fine, you are not poking it; making it angry. Work is not ideal – not yet. But you have a plan. This plan of yours, it has steps and phases. Currently, you are one phase two, which is not bad considering that you are a young one.
Your goal is to convince reality, that it’s not just black and white – it’s all the colors at once, at full brightness. What is you biggest dream, Friend? For me it’s writing books. Creating my own world (since I fell in love with sci-fi, why not?) and writing as I am talking with you know – from the bottom of my heart. For someone else, the goal is successful career, family, building a house.
Making it out there. Exactly. So, to make this story more universal, I will allow you to fill in that blank in your head. Making it out there, in whatever way you want. This is our hero’s biggest dream and she (can I go with she?) has it all planned out.
If you want to change things, perhaps you should try from within, because this is what happens from the outside.
But it’s not your ordinary plan, no. There is a lot of room to improvise or adjust, to adapt and overcome all potential obstacles. She learnt the hard way, that always sticking to one’s plan is not a good idea. You must be flexible. Staying this long at her workplace – that’s compromise. It’s not like she hates it, no. We all have our struggles at work, right? This is the reality, that bites. She compromises a lot there, because this is part of the plan, to make it out there. People rely on her, even though she is in no position to be their leader.
What is the worst part of any job, Friend? Payroll? Overtime? No, those are always debatable. But there is one corner stone, that can shake your reality to the ground – lack of support. Imagine no one has your back at work – not your boss, your leaders. And you have to be there for your team; even though you know that you are living a lie.
Reality bites and takes no prisoners. Is that how her life will look like at work, until retirement? She prays not. This is just a phase, part of a plan. Vital one, but still just one of many elements. So, she clenches her teeth and keeps on pushing forward. Onward… So she can come home to her family. They are supportive, right?
She is just about to start her own life, not so far from her home. Nevertheless, it will be her life, her own. I can relate to that feeling, you know? As on command, we both look around my cold apartment. It’s so damn cold in here! But it’s my cold space. Empty, but mine. This is my new reality, and I will make it cozy really soon.
They will die in debt for things they didn’t want to do.
Making decision to buy your own space is hard, because it’s not a matter of “yes” or “no”. It’s everything in between with “maybe”, “perhaps”, “although”, “unless” and “if”. The ifs will stab you right through the heart. What if I don’t get the money, what if I don’t pay it back on time. And what if I will not like this place or what if I want to move to another country? The minute you sign the deal, you think: It’s done. I’m done.
But… Now I know that it is a matter of perspective. I could still rent this apartment. My job allows me to pay all the bills. I have friends, that will make this place warm, I can still be the beating heart of my home. I know that, but our hero struggled. She wasn’t convinced, not until I told her that whatever she’s feeling – it’s okay.
I wish there was a recipe for adulthood. A recipe, that would include all the things we like and some, that are actually healthy for us. But this is not the case and now that I think about it, our lives would be pretty dull and probably not well-seasoned.
She struggled, because her family… Supported her every step of the way, in setting up her new life. But on the other hand, they kept doubting. Or, as they called it – kept joking. You know a thing about jokes? Both sides must be laughing, to consider it funny. So, how would you feel when your mum would ask you when will you cook or clean, since you don’t have the time now?
She has time. It’s her mum doing all the heavy lifting, without giving her a chance. We are creatures of habit, right Friend? This is our common reality. Family struggle is hard and I think everybody had a fair share of it. But this is not over for our hero, you know?
I’m good at reading people. My secret, I look for the worst in them.
We drink some more tea, to warm ourselves up. Constructions site is loud, but walls of my apartment can dull it out somehow. We can see the air coming out of our mouths, but we don’t mind, right? The story is peaking. They are family and they share hopes, dreams and fears. Our hero cries a lot to her mum – will she make it? Can she afford all of it? We will help you. Oh, I am sure they will. Generosity runs in their blood, there is no denying. I am sure they don’t mean to hurt her, but laughing at her dreams is not the response she was looking for.
She wants to make it out there, as whoever and wherever – fill in the blank, Friend. And her father doesn’t take is seriously. He laughs at her face, thinking that she is just joking. Her mum is trying to save the situation, but our hero is no fool. She can see her mother’s eyes – the doubt, the “childish dream”, the unspoken “it’s time to grow up”.
Is it, though? What is so great in growing up? Tell me, Friend – am I missing something? Because sure, adulthood has its moments. But mostly it’s scary and new and it feels like it’s taking over our reality. I don’t see the rush to it, I don’t want it to control me.
See, our hero wants to enjoy life and its pleasures – whether it’s hanging out with friends, staying all day in bed or going for a walk. And suddenly, when you start your own life somewhere, people force you to only think about bills, cleaning up and cooking dinners. And they call it life?
I call it existing. And I will defend our hero to the death, for finally wanting to live, in a reality of her own. Reality, that bites, kicks and punches.
People always told me growing up that it’s never about the destination. It’s about the journey. But what if the destination is you?
Making it out there – in your new life, at work, in your wildest dreams. Why people are afraid of dreamers, miracle-workers that want more? Is it too much, to think outside the box, outside that social role, someone assigned to you? I don’t get it. You can still be a responsible daughter and love pop-culture. You can be a loving wife, that loves going on adventures. What stops you from being my wise Friend, and still tell me off when I cross a line?
Who is setting limitation to your reality? Look, here is the thing. There might be a concept of common reality – the one we all live in, but… Isn’t this reality composed of our small, personal realities? Realities, that can be shaped, molded, crafted and painted the way we want them?
I sigh, as you grab my shaking hand. Her story got me, caught me off guard and I took it way too personal. But I can see, that you did too. Because in every urban legend, there is a grain of truth. And it can be different for me, different for you. Let’s not say that out loud, okay?
No one will help you “fix” your reality – no one, but you. Why would you ask someone to do that for you in the first place? They will never be truly objective about it – even if they will come with best intentions. I wish it was that easy, Friend. Closing my eyes is easy, though. I can see my reality very clearly – with all its flaws and imperfections, brilliant ideas that were shut down. With all chances I didn’t take, with all regrets, disappointments, insecurities.
But I can also see little hopes, hiding behind the bushes, along with new possibilities and chances. It’s not just black and white, right? There is green and blue (the true blue), there is red and a bit of yellow. All of them in different shades, intensities. Waiting for me to make a move.
What I wouldn’t give to being normal. To live in that bubble. The reality of the naïve…
You don’t speak, and I don’t know if it’s good or bad. You want my advice? I’m not sure I have one, Friend. Am I in a position to give it, anyway? My reality is a mess. It’s my mess, but still. Okay, let me think. What did I tell my hero?
You are real. Your struggle, fight, reality – all of that makes you real. One day you will realize, that there is only one person in the whole world, that can tell you what to do. If you don’t know the answer now, it’s okay. Everything comes in time. What I can tell you right now is to hang on. This is not the end. Hell, you haven’t even started yet – not properly – and you can’t give up.
Reality is not your enemy – it has no power over you. Sure, you must exist in it, but does it really mean that you have to live according to its condition? No, Friend. You can use reality to your advantage, and make the best out of it. All that, to reach your goal which is… Making it out there.
Wherever you are. Whoever you want to be – make it your reality. It’s not instant, it’s not around the corner. You must be patient, but it will pay off. Because one day you will realize, who that one person in the whole world is.
It’s time for us to go – there is plenty to do before we can actually make this place my home. I hope I didn’t bring you down too much? Your smile is reassuring, that it’s not that bad yet. I smile as well, as we gather our things and head out. The keys are heavy in my hand, but they are my keys. My reality.
There are some people out there… And it doesn’t happen a lot. It’s rare. But they refuse to let you hate them. In fact, they care about you in spite of it. And the really special ones, they’re relentless at it. Doesn’t matter what you do to them. They take it and care about you anyway. They don’t abandon you, no matter how many reasons you give them. No matter how much you’re practically begging them to leave. And you wanna know why? Because they feel something for me that I can’t… They love me.All today’s quotes come from Mr. Robot – one of the best series of the decade… And you can read about it here. Wanna talk reality? Watch this show.