I have suffered from magical thinking. I don’t know if my OCD or growing up believing in Santa Claus, God, and Mumford the Magician on Sesame Street is more to blame for my condition. When I was young I tended to overlook undelivered Christmas gifts that I had wished for, unanswered prayers, and the debacles that resulted from Mumford’s tricks because I was focused on the magical part. If something went awry I simply believed that wishing harder would have made it come true.
I tended to continue viewing life magically, to some degree, until November 9, 2016. It was tempting to think that my magical powers had malfunctioned when I woke up that morning and found out that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States. People like him simply don’t exist in my magical world where everyone is kind and promotes the greater good. His appointment as the leader of the free world and the size of his ego popped the magical bubble I was living in. There is no partisanship in my magical world, where we are all independent thinkers working together for the betterment of mankind. In my world I support everyone’s right to vote for the candidate they think is best for the job. But in my world, I also believe that Americans value preserving the integrity of this country over seeing their party win. So my reaction to the 2016 election had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with human decency and the fate of our country.
After I abandoned magical thinking a couple years ago and started living in the real world, I was forced to simply accept that wishing doesn’t keep scary things from happening. Because I can’t break the habit of feeling responsible for everything, I considered what role I played in the political status of our country—or more accurately, what role I didn’t play. I did nothing to help produce a different outcome, other than cast my vote. I stayed inside of my magical world and wished for the outcome I wanted. I, and other magical thinkers like me who dwell on protecting the things we care about from harm, should have put that same energy that went into wishing into actively achieving our desired outcome.
Through being forced to step out of my wishful world into the real one, I have also come to realize that many Americans suffer from the exact opposite of magical thinking. Too many people seem to think that anything can cause anything, a philosophy better known as “S*** Happens.” So many Americans—to the left and to the right of me—are simply unable to see how they play a role in causing any outcome, let alone their contribution to the political condition of our country. As one prone to magical thinking, I tend to believe that everyone is responsible to some degree for what happens in the world; otherwise, existence is meaningless.
Even though I am managing my condition, I still believe that my thoughts should be able to influence the world I live in. Being able to write for a blog is a great outlet for magical thinking. What I put in this space is, essentially, my wishes for this world wrapped in words. It’s my attempt to inspire others to help create a place that is kind to everyone and promotes the greater good through actions. I would love to see every American use the energy that it takes to think of themselves and put it into actually doing something to make life magical for just one other person. Then I believe it would actually be possible to make America great again, instead of those words simply existing in a campaign slogan that is about as effective as saying, “A la peanut butter sandwiches” and expecting something to happen.
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© 2018 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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