Life is not like the movies. Most people don’t win the lottery, girls will not be saved from the highest point of a castle by prince charming, and if you start dancing in the street, the people around you will most likely not know the steps or join in. Compared to the movies, average everyday life may not seem all that exciting. Distant dreams of exploring new places or making a change are things that only seem viable in the movies we see on the weekend.
What the movies don’t tell you is that these things actually are possible. Well I mean prince charming might call you instead of fighting off a dragon, but that’s not the point. The real truth of the matter is that these goals and dreams which we all desire are obtainable, but we are the ones who need to play the role of the fairy godmother. Instead of weeping in the corner, we need to pull a dress out of the closet, hitch a cab and get to the ball ourselves, no magic pumpkin required. I knew that there was no way I would wake up one day with enough money to go on my dream trip to France so I decided to get the money myself. Instead of going on summer trips I worked during the breaks I had from school. My paychecks went into my savings account instead of going towards that amazing pair of heels at the mall. Many of my weekdays at school were spent working instead of lounging in front of the TV. Little by little those paychecks have added up. Now three years after I began saving I am planning my trip. My desire to speak French with the Parisians will become a reality this summer. Not because Ed McMahon walked up my drive way with a check for 50 million, but because I took actions into my own hands.
It would be a bit more comforting to be able to hear the uplifting soundtrack in the background of our day to give us a hint that our goal is getting closer, but I have yet to hear that. There is always a risk involved; money might run short, you might not get into the school of your choice, or the house you have your eye on might be a bit too expensive. Set backs should not mean that you have failed; they just suggest a different way of getting to the goal. That risk which we are all so afraid of is the same thing that makes movies so exciting. What will happen next? Will they succeed? Will he get the girl? Will their new pizza place thrive? That is why we go to the movies, to see what happens when people take risks. If we wish our lives were like the movies, why can’t we take the same chances they do? Background music won’t make the difference in life, it is the amount of effort you put into the project.
I truly believe that if you work at it you can achieve these Hollywood dreams. They may not be immediately obtainable, but really this is a good thing. They wouldn’t be half as satisfying if you didn’t have to put in some work to get to them. You want to be the CEO of a company? Work hard. You want to travel to Australia? Save your money. And if you really want to dance along the side walk like they do in the movies, do it anyways. People might not join in, but they will certainly get a kick out of the person with the Gene Kelly moves that won’t let the unmovie- like- qualities of life stop them.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.