I will have to write the story of my ‘adventures’ someday, for in the telling or retelling, perhaps they will be more interesting and exciting than living them has been. I have often thought, as I seek escape into the the stories of others’ lives and alternative possibilities for my own, that if I actually lived the lives of the characters, I would probably feel precisely the same way that I do now. It seems to be a curse of human nature to believe that other people lead more fascinating and valuable lives than our own because we do not see the impact of our lives on others and can turn off the burdens that our favorite characters carry. We do not have to shoulder their memories, anxieties, and difficulties when the TV is silenced or the book is put down. And yet, were the characters real, they could not do either of those things, so would it really be worth trading places with them? It would merely be an exchange of one set of baggage for another. Of course, someone else’s almost always looks better and easier to bear than our own, but that is simply a consequence of the fact that it is not ours to worry over. And so I turn to my favorite stories and TV shows to rest, give my mind a break, and enjoy a small sense of escape, to enter into their world for a little while and leave mine behind. Even if I actually could trade places with them, it would not solve all of my problems and would, in fact, only create new ones. That knowledge helps me to return to my work, to confront my own fears, and to follow courses of action that are right, albeit difficult.
On second thought… the battles I face in the life of the mind and in the maze we call academia would probably be of little interest to anyone but myself, regardless of how well they might be told. I suppose that means that it would be best if I stuck to writing the stories of others who truly have led more intriguing lives than mine and continue to face my own battles as best I can each day, tedious and interminable as they seem.