With a leisurely stretch, he sat down and readied himself. Then, with a secret smile, he shrugged off the robe of relaxation and took up the mantle of valour. His adventure was just beginning.
In this conclusion to the trilogy of posts centred around the development of heroes, I’m going to make a connection: When we are surrounded by heroes, where do we stand?
If you’re like me, you dream of things that are beyond this mundane world. You don’t want to settle for the everyday things we encounter–school, work, media–you want knights, mages, and quests. You want to live as a part of that story, a part of that adventure. You want a little magic. You want to be the nobody-turned-hero, and maybe you even want to be exceptionally great. Everything you read, you wish was happening to you, but maybe you feel that you’re too ordinary to live that life.
That’s where the progression comes in. Stories prove every day that you don’t have to start out remarkable to become something great. Adventures happen to anyone and everyone. They don’t just have to happen to characters in a story, living in a distant world with dragons and minotaurs roaming the wilderness. They happen to the exceptions, too, the people who prove themselves even when the odds are stacked against them.
The wizard who comes to whisk you off on an adventure may not be a wizard at all–he may be a job opportunity, an impromptu trip, or a turning point in your life. The prophecy depicting you as the chosen one might not be a prophecy at all–it might be the support of a loved one, the devotion of a friend, or the encouragement of someone you barely know. There are so many ways that these quests appear in our lives, and all it takes is a bit of imagination to realize their true forms, even when they’re dressed up like everyday things. Looks can be deceiving, and nothing is ever what it appears to be.
A few years ago, I struggled with realizing the adventure in my life. I was so caught up in what I thought was the harsh, cruel reality of today’s modern society, always dreaming of those beautiful worlds full of heroes and magic that I loved to read and write. It was disheartening, always wishing for something more than what I had. And when I spoke to a close friend about it, she said something so true that, looking back, I wish I’d thanked her for it at the time. “Your problem,” she said, “is that you were born in the wrong world. Just try to make the best of what you have here.” For the longest time, I couldn’t apply this to my life. I don’t think I knew how. Now, I believe I do.
Sometimes, you have to look at things figuratively. You can’t keep expecting goblins to be waiting around the next corner, or your horse to sprout a horn and turn into a unicorn. The thing about magic is that it’s subtle. It likes to disguise itself. I’ve realized that, if I actually want to live a life of adventure and magic, then I have to know where to look for it, and see what’s really there. And now, in my present life, I’m starting to open my eyes to all of that. I’m watching myself become an exception–no, I’m making myself an exception–and I’m experiencing my own progression from nobody to hero. I’m going to find the adventure, wherever it lies, and embark on daring quests as I see fit. And when the goblins finally do show up, and my horse finally does sprout a horn, I’ll be ready for it.
In answer to my original question, “Where do we stand?”, I say this: We are all standing at the start of our own adventures. And what the future holds all depends on the steps we decide to take.
Who or what are the wizards, prophecies, goblins, or unicorns in your life? How have you/are you going to make yourself an exception and become the hero in your life?
May you always see the magic and wonder through the dust of the mundane, and follow your own adventure.