“Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.” Mark Twain
Long ago I put that quotation in my “jot-it-down-while-you-read” journal. It rang true. It no longer does. Dreams (with a heavy dose of reality), goals and wonderful plans for the future – yes. But no more illusions.
Some of the illusions I’ve held?
That my marriage was a good one. (This was a biggie and its demise incorporated others - i.e. the loss of what I once considered friends.)
That my writer’s block was temporary and would end any day. (It hasn’t and I’m going to stop beating myself up about it. I have moved on.)
That I was coping and adapting well to caring for our ailing dog. (I wasn’t – hence my weight loss.)
That out of a desire (need?) to believe such wonderful and perfect (!) people exist I have imbued others with qualities and attributes they do not possess. I set them up for failure and myself for disappointment – sad, avoidable consequences of my own making. (Ouch.)
I seem to have a knack for twisting reality to fit my needs and wants. I suspect we all do this to some extent but I’m now in the process of removing my own personal blinders. I need the glare – the light of day.
I am also guilty of having an active imagination, a tendency to take off on flights of fancy and of indulging in wonderful (day)dreams. These flaws or gifts (depends on how you view them) are not going to go away. But I am determined to temper them with a more discerning view of the world.
While the stripping away of illusions can be painful, there’s relief and a refreshing sense of freedom to be found in facing reality and the truth – about myself and about others.
I haven’t become cynical and jaded – simply more aware and cautious.
And I think those are good things to be. At the very least, they are what I need to be right now.
And Mr. Twain? I am still very much alive.