Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let's play pretend!

Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night

I have some very distinct memories of pretending as a kid. I remember being a princess, being the Wicked Witch of the West (possibly the most fun), being a pilot, being a damsel in distress (hanging off the cliff that was my bunkbed), and being a cashier at McDonald's (I'm not kidding). It's safe to play pretend when you're a child; you know that if you don't like what you're doing you can always become something else. There's no worry about changing careers, going back to school, finding the money to go back to school, worrying about success and failure. When you're a child, these things don't exist - they are merely the figments of adult imaginations.

Which makes me wonder: do we have this thing all wrong?

Maybe the starting of being the thing we really want to be is in the pretending. The confident stance, the image of that success, the feel of that accomplishment, even if not achieved already, can only push us towards that endeavor. If things don't work out exactly as we'd hoped, we can change our minds and do something else or start again. Life isn't a fixed state. So how can we be?

People debate what "time" really is - an illusion, a mental construct, a tangible measurement? Is it relative or constant? I really don't know. You could listen to a dozen different physicists and still have no real answer. But if time is an illusion (and it could be), then the person you might be lies within you already. I think.