I used to spend every second of every day with my nose stuck in a book, jealous of all my favorite heroes. Spending all of my time wishing that I lived in these other places and that I could maybe one day have an adventure fall into my lap just like it happens at the beginning of every quest book.
But you and I aren’t Princess Cimorene. A talking frog isn’t going to come up to us one day and offer to help us solve our problems. There are plenty of real humans in the world who are willing to help, of course- the suicide hotline (US number: 1-800-273-8255), friends, all the usual things about a trusted adult I’m sure a million people have said a million times at this point. Still, though there is truth that kindness may be hard to find in difficult times but it never dies, no one can help you if you don’t help yourself. No one can help you go on adventures if you refuse to talk to the frogs that offer them.
So one day I decided I was done waiting for the day when someone would pop up in my life and offer me adventure under the right circumstances- I had to prepare myself to be ready for adventure to happen at any time like with Bilbo Baggins in the Hobbit, or to chase down my adventure for myself.
Somewhere between traveling the world and committing to be a full time writer as an actual career that I pay the bills with, I think I’ve found my adventures. I’ve turned a few opportunities down, of course, because being unable to say no is also problematic, but I think it’s a great skill to be able to helm your own life and know what your dreams are so you can chase them down. That brings me to my first point:
No one has the power to make your life what you want, besides you
- You can’t wait for your parents, or friends, or fate to make life happen for you. If you sit on your couch and just let life pass you by, you’ll be one of those people who wakes up one day in their fifties and realizes they haven’t chased a single dream or done a single thing they were compassionate about in their whole life.
No one has the power to stop your adventure but you
- Of course everyone has their own inner demons, and faces their own life problems- prejudice and hatred can bring you down in very real ways, and people who live in less than ideal places like a region bombarded with bombs won’t be able to just prance into a dream life. But you can still have something to live for, no matter what your life is like. You can still find some measure of at least satisfaction in even the most trying circumstances. And if your life is a more peaceful experience in the suburbs, you really are all that is holding you back.
Don’t depend on others to make you happy
- Positive Psychology, the study of what it looks like when the brain and psyche are actually working properly (as opposed to regular psychology, which you must admit learning too much about can make you paranoid and think everyone in the world has a mental illness whether they truly do or not) says that happiness is a fleeting and situational response, while joy is a constant and a mindset. So, in a way, it is sort of true that other people and things make you happy, but they don’t make you content with your life overall, and that’s the thing that leaves a searing ache in your heart when it’s missing. Cultivate joy, and if you don’t know how, check out this page which does a pretty good job of summarizing at least the basics I learned in my one semester of this stuff.
Looking for everything to fail in your life means it will
- Look, I’m not saying you should be bubbly peppy joy-joy all the time. Optimism isn’t really everyone’s thing. But if you give up before you even get started doing something, you will probably sabotage yourself without even realizing it. This goes double if your goal is to make friendships and all you talk about to potential friends is whining about not having friends, because being whiny is really annoying to most humans. It’s not that other people don’t whine, make excuses, and play the blame game- it’s just that it’s best not to fixate on it and be stuck in that mindset all the time. If you can limit verbally sharing your whining with the world to the minimal amount you need to feel better about things, even better then.
You deserve to be the kind of person who sticks up for yourself
- Why do you need a hero? Is your life boring? Do you hate hate hate school? Try to be your own greatest hero and find some way or thing that can make your current life satisfying, or even fun. Make a game of doing boring tasks. Try to figure out how to give to your relationships in such a way that you get the love and friendship you need. Tell someone what isn’t working, and problem solve ways to fix it together. And if that still doesn’t help and you can’t change things up so it gets better? Figure out how to rescue yourself from the situation- drop from the advanced math class to the easier one, break up with a friend who just cannot stop being toxic, get to work building the career you actually want to have. (And yes, even if you are younger, creative jobs like the indie book biz or IT jobs can be started when you are a teen as long as you can put in some work and do the research.)
I used to be the kind of person who read because I was bored of my own life. Now I enjoy reading about adventures AND I go on my own. It’s a win-win when you decide to look for your own adventures instead of waiting for them to come to you.