Of all the topics I enjoy writing about, heroes remain one of my personal favorites. Rather than push the ideas of heroes away with the rest of childhood toys, it’s an idea that just won’t seem to die. In fact, it seems as if it’s more active in adulthood than it is in childhood; when you’re an adult, you really comprehend the idea behind heroes, rather than simply seeing a man in a bright red cape with his underwear over his leotard. You come to appreciate the metaphor behind the myth, that the world really does need strong men and women to swoop out of the skies and rescue those in distress. As you come to realize this, you inwardly begin to squirm because you realize that you’re quite capable of being this type of person, yet you can think of a clear moment where you shirked your responsibilities or weren’t quite your usual superhuman self.
Whether it’s rescuing the damsel in distress, or putting a smile on the face of a forlorn boy who was disappointed by his parents, the world needs heroes. Perhaps there are no Spiderman’s slinging between the skyscrapers on bungee-cord-like strands of web, or Superman’s flying through the sky. Perhaps there may not exist chubby robbers in masks, holding up a nice couple with a six-shot. And perhaps there aren’t overworked police officers who are desperate to spend more time with their family. Or perhaps, just perhaps…there exists a vacuum in our world that secretly cries out for a hero.
Growing older, I continue to appreciate the idea behind the hero. The real man behind the mask is not a man, but a metaphor. As this hunger grows, so does the realization that not every day can be a superhero day, as I find more and more areas of my life, personality, and mind that could use a solid tune-up.
Perhaps you’re wondering what sparked this idea. Sitting here, at my usual Starbucks, I saw several young adults waving to me through the window. They mouthed “Hey Superman!” and pointed to my shirt. Flashing a polite smile, I realized that I’ve fallen quite far of this mark in recent days. I’ve never been busier with work. However, I feel as if nothing is getting accomplished on the ever-growing to-do list. Part of me knows this isn’t the problem, as I always tend to pull through in even the strictest last minute situations. However, I feel as if this isn’t the fix – nor the problem.
While it’s been asked many times, today, somebody asked me what it was that I hoped to accomplish with my life. While I’ve never quite felt as if I’ve taken so many strides forward in reaching these goals, I still feel so very distant from them. It’s often the first few steps of a journey that force you to count the cost of your undertaking. There’s often no shortage of opportunity to abandon your quest, leave your dreams at the side of the path, and retreat to safety. Don’t do it, champ. Hold on for just a moment longer.
I’ve found the most difficult situations are often followed by the most rewarding circumstances. In this respect, I have to agree. While the recent times here in California have been very rewarding, it’s also a constant reminder that the path ahead requires motion; rather than simply enthusiasm. Nobody ever got to a far destination by simply wishing it were possible, or feeling somehow accomplished for ‘daring’ to dream of reaching this destination. The fool with no direction in his steps is infinitely greater than the brilliant dreamer that never leaves his/her bed. Motion can at least be guided, directed, and corrected. Dreamers often never want to be woken from their slumber; the lucid dreams are much more enjoyable than the harsh nightmare life can present.
Wake up, Superman. Sometimes you need a reminder that you have the full capability and potential to become the person you long to be; shirking average for extraordinary.
Today was unfortunately an off-day for me. In fact, these past few days have been far from perfect. Rather than be overly hard on myself, it’s best to use these days as momentum for future, better days. It’s not about how far we are from our end journey that matters, but whether or not we are taking steps in its direction.