Quit the “Real World”

March 25, 2011 at 3:12 AM | Posted in Psychological Wellness, Rants | Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the phrase “real world” means. I’ve been missing college life and trying to put my finger on exactly what it was. I mean, looking back, my college life wasn’t actually that great. I spent most of it around really arrogant, smart, rich people without any sense of character whatsoever, and I spent Fridays doing homework or at the gym most of the time. So what was so great? I couldn’t really decide until recently.

I think my answer to that question is this: college shields you from the real world. Before I define what the real world is, let me explain what it is not. It is not spending most of the day in a classroom or walking around a beautiful campus. It is not spending the afternoon in the shade of a large tree with friends. It is not eating dinner every night with your roommates or suitemates, talking about your respective philosophies and speculations on life and growing as a person. It is not staying up until all hours of the night playing video games or drinking. It is not hooking up with every girl or guy that tickles your fancy (double entendre?). It is not random roadtrips on the weekend, or pleasurable trips to the beach or the river with good friends in the summer. It is not a place where you can typically say anything you want. And certainly you are not encouraged to do so. I’ve seen wonderful, beautiful things happen at college that can happen nowhere else. I’ve seen a normal person put his or her brain to use and come up with extraordinary solutions to problems. I’ve seen fantastic engineers and scientists solving the problems of tomorrow for what is basically free.

But none of that is the real world. In the real world, you’re either making money or you’re out on the streets. In the real world, your old friends are off married and busying themselves with children and paying off endless bills, or they’re out of touch, or they’re enemies. In the real world, you can’t say what you want to say because it could mean your job. You can’t publicly support change for fear of being ridiculed by the so-called realists. You can’t dare to dream because the real world will dash your dreams against the sharp, unyielding rocks of living in an economically driven world. So forget your bygone leisure days of college where you were free to socialize, philosophize, and grow as a person. Forget the days of being able to naively trust someone the second you met them, or the freedom that comes with an unburdened heart. You’re in the real world now.

So, you graduate college and join the ranks of millions before you who, just like you, will work for the rest of their lives paying off bills and muttering about the management and the government. You give up your friends, your life, and maybe even your values, just to walk home with the almighty paycheck in hand. You forget all the things you learned in college because you don’t need them. No more leisure time, no more time camping with friends, no more nights turning into mornings with substantial conversation. Your mind closes off to possibility. Change becomes the enemy. You become trampled and crushed by the weight of the real world. You cling to whatever tiny sliver of happiness and positivity is left in your life, whether it be your kids, your wife, or your family. You might keep a few close friends, but your ability to open up to new people and trust new faces is gone. You’ve become inelastic. As you get older, you spend so much time and effort resisting change that it’s all you have in you. At the end of the day, you’re lucky to accomplish your obligatory daily tasks to “hold down the fort.” It’s no wonder college was such a paradise.

But I’m a dreamer. I’m a person with a heart and soul. I choose not to accept the “real world” as my reality. I’m someone who believes that reality is what you make it. I’m someone who believes that anyone can do anything they want to do. I don’t believe in being crippled, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally, financially or otherwise. I believe that what you tolerate is what you accept. And I believe that if you do nothing, you have still made a choice. I believe that change is good. I believe that practicality does not apply to personal philosophy. I believe realism is a sad, pathetic way of admitting that you live controlled by fear instead of something better. That is my mantra. That is my reality. I control my life – not god, not the government, not people who hurt me in my past, no one but me.

What’s to blame for the way the world is? I have an answer to that: fear and your ignorance. Ignorance because everyone is so short-sighted and uninformed. Fear because no one wants to take a risk – a risk that might be necessary to get to a better life. If people had nothing to fear, why would they be so averse to change? We all know people whose lives could be vastly improved if they weren’t afraid to take a risk.

What if you didn’t have anything to fear? What if tomorrow if you lost your job and you could continue to comfortably pay your bills and support your family indefinitely? What if, instead of becoming a lawyer, doctor, or engineer, you could be what you wanted to be? What if you could stand up for your values every day – drive a hybrid car, or buy that more expensive food just to show your support for sustainable farming?

What makes rich people rich and poor people poor? Every time you say something is impossible because of money, time, or some other common excuse, you’re putting on your fear mask. The biggest difference between successful people and everyone else is this: attitude. The only people who have money and are complete jackasses and idiots are the ones that inherit it. I challenge you to prove me wrong. Sure, rich people can be jerks just like the rest of us, but I guarantee you everybody who has made it out of the “real world” has some kind of courage and strength that can’t be stopped

So I guess the point of this rant is this: stop complaining and start doing or shut up. I’m sick and tired of listening to everyone tell me how Obama is destroying the world. I’m tired of listening to how you can’t do the things you want to do because it isn’t economical. I’m tired of hearing how you sacrificed values in the name of staying alive. You can keep muttering and yamming away at whoever will listen about the government and how people have no values or character, but I’m going to do something about it.

It kills me to see believers who funnel every bit of strength into hoping for an afterlife – a second chance where everybody gets everything they want and nobody has to do anything ever. I find that belief so offensive and pathetic I’m not sure there are even words to describe the feeling. This is your life right here, right now. Every second that goes by that you waste speaks volumes more about your character than anything else ever could. What if there is no second chance? What if there is no afterlife? What if it doesn’t matter what we do here? What if it’s all over when you die? You want to be a believer? You want to make a difference? Believe in yourself. Believe in now! Stop thinking about tomorrow or crying about yesterday and do something today. That is where life happens – the present. Life doesn’t get any better unless you force it to. God’s not going to come fix everything up. The government is bankrupt. Take responsibility for yourself. Take responsibility for your actions and your thoughts. Be proactive.

And fuck the real world. You’re better than that.

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