Witches Abroad is, at it’s core, a story about stories. It’s about three witches that set out to keep the story of Cinderella from happening because another witch has tampered with it, and find themselves woven in all manner of other fairy tales along the way. Their penchant for mischief and twisting the tales from the “happy ending” into something more practical is entertaining, amusing, and revealing. One point they repeatedly make throughout the book is that real life isn’t a story, and it’s not right to turn it into one.
This insight struck a cord with me, because we all tend to do this. We all have our expectations of how life and the world should be, and I think that much of our struggles and contentment level depend on our ability to reconcile the reality we face with the ideals we imagined. I’ve heard it said that the Lord won’t reveal the whole road to you, because you’d flee in terror if you knew how much work and struggle lay ahead to reach your goals, but I think this is one part of a two part issue. The other part is that we often have unrealistic expectations of how things will be, and our progress depends on our ability to know and adapt to the difference when reality reveals itself.
A great case in point is my writing. Witches Abroad reminded me of my early expectations when I started on this journey sixteen years ago. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I didn’t have a realistic expectation of the journey. I went in believing that getting published was the be all and end all goal of it all. I had a Field of Dreams image of it that if I built it, they would come. I didn’t realize how much competition was out there for reader’s attention, and the importance of promotion to reach and build an audience. That’s an error in thinking that I’m still paying for. Add to that the fact that the face of publication has changed radically with ebooks and my decision to jump on that wave, and you can see how my entire journey changed. Nothing is as I thought it would be, and I find myself in a constant state of learning and growing. Am I disappointed that things haven’t worked out as I planned? Sure, but I also accept that I didn’t see all aspects of the journey, and that I have to adjust. I came in blind with no connections to the industry, so naturally I missed things and made mistakes. That’s life. I learn, I adapt, I grow, and I keep on keeping on. I haven’t given up because the journey was longer than I anticipated. I gained wisdom and moved on.
I think everybody could tell this story of how they set out on something, just to find that it was radically different from what they expected. We could tell it over and over, because this is how life teaches us lessons. The key is how you take those lessons. Do you accept the new wisdom and move on? Or do you get depressed and give up, because you can’t have it your way? Our success and contentment depend on how we resolve the schism between our expectation and reality. It’s something to think about.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.