So, Real World, We Meet Again


I live in the real world: escape to imaginary ones–or at least that’s what it says on my twitter profile anyway. Recently I’ve spent more time in the real world than my imaginary one, which feels like being far from home. One world is filled with magic, suspense, romance, epicness, and awesomeness. The other . . . 40-hour work weeks, bills, lawyers, and other fun adult stuff. Guess which one I live in . . .

Due to the demands of the real world, I’ve either been too busy or too tired, or often a little of both to write. After working all day, running errands, paying bills, and dealing with lawyers, let’s just say I’m not in the mood to write–I could, however, go for a nap. And that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing with my free time which used to be writing time.

Life is hard, but you don’t have to adult hard. For the record, I’m not telling you to de-evolve into a state of pre-adolescence. I do not condone shirking duties, skipping work, or neglecting pets and children. Functioning in the real world is about finding things that help you cope with your problems, not finding ways to avoid them.

Writing is one way I escape from life, but since I’m not doing much of that, these are the ways I’ve been coping.

Adult like a Child

To clarify, there is a difference between being immature and childlike. I can watch cartoons while eating marshmallow cereal all I want as long as I complete my adult duties. I like to think I’m childlike because I’m positive, enjoy simple pleasures, and because I like things that are considered a little out of my age level. But I am unquestionably an adult. To be frank, I get shit done, but I make it as painless as possible.

  • I write grocery and to-do list on Frozen and Dr. Suess stationary with a pen shaped like a squirrel.
  • I store my documents for my lawyer in a folder with a picture of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle.
  • I have reusable grocery bags with Disney characters on them
  • I keep an owl stress ball that lights up at my desk
  • I mail bills with fun stamps and return address labels with flamingos on them.
  • I write “Lannisters always pay their debts” on all of my checks and money orders.
  • When I leave the office I leave a note on my desktop that says “I’m Going on an Adventure!”

Those are just some of the ways I take the edge off of doing adult task.

The Wonderful World of Disney

03bIf I can’t escape to the worlds I created, I’m going to escape to the wonderful world of Disney. Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Disney movies. I grew up with these movies, but I never grew out of them.

Even if I didn’t have a six-year old son, I’d still go to the theaters with my sister to watch the latest movie. It’s not that I don’t like movies made for adults, I just don’t have the focus or energy to enjoy them or their real-world themes.

I don’t know if it’s the music or the colors, but I don’t think about my worries while I’m watching Disney movies. Not that animated characters don’t have their problems, but it’s pretty bad when you’re watching a movie and you’d trade your own problems for theirs. Save China, unite two nations, become king, free a genie, that’s nothing. Try getting my ex to pay child support.

Power Nap

catI’ve always thought the term power nap was an oxymoron. There is nothing powerful about napping. You just lay there like road kill or a potato. I’m not gonna lie, right now I need about two to three naps a day. I can’t say that I feel more rested, but I do feel less stressed, especially since I don’t nap alone. It doesn’t matter when or how often I sleep, this cat always sleeps with me, beside me, on me, under the covers, on my pillow, but always with me like a stuffed animal or a possessive boyfriend.

Music, Music, Music

frozen-meme13-1I love music. I find singing and listening to music in general to be very therapeutic. In my office, while I’m marketing, during the drive to and from work, and while I’m writing, I listen to music. My favorite music source is Pandora. My favorite stations right now are my Irish music stations, my Ellie Goulding station, and not one, but two Disney stations. Yes, I’m a little obsessed with Disney if you haven’t gathered.

Singing is stress relieving, and it’s ten times more fun when you’re belting out “Let it Go” or “I’ll make a man out of you.” Since I grew up watching these movies, I know the words by heart. It’s super nostalgic to sing “Colors of the Wind” remembering when I used to sing it while running barefoot in my back yard. Life was simpler then.

Speaking of Letting it Go . . .

Part of being an adult is making your own choices and forming your own identity. I use to worry about being judged, and so I hid a lot about what made me well, me. Elsa-image-elsa-36809047-160-200

  • Don’t tell people you like Tolkien and fantasy. They’ll think you’re a nerd.
  • Don’t tell people you write. They’ll think you’re weird.
  • Don’t buy that Frozen merchandise. It’s for kids.
  • Don’t decorate your bathroom in owls. It’s not sophisticated.
  • Don’t put toys on your workstation. It’s not professional.

Now I don’t care what others think. I don’t have time for that. I’m 28 years old, and I have a lego Legolas at my work desk, tons of Frozen stuff (I have Frozen fever), I eat Disney princess gummies and children’s cereal, and watch cartoons. I’m not immature. On the contrary, I’m a very responsible adult. I take care of my son and help out my mom, I pay all of my bills on time, and I work hard at my job. So if I come home and snuggle with a cat on a bed that has owl pillows, that’s my prerogative.

I think we all hit this point from time to time, where our real life demands as much if not more from us than our writing. I’ve got a lot to get done before I can give my full attention to writing. Of course, I’m dreading starting again after a lapse; however, I will get back in the saddle–or for those of you who have never fallen off a horse–back on the bike. I guess my advice is don’t lose connection with the real world, but likewise, don’t lose connection with the ones you create.

And speaking of losing connection, I don’t want to lose contact with my wonderful followers. Tell me, how do you cope with the real world?

29 thoughts on “So, Real World, We Meet Again

  1. Those sound like excellent strategies to me! I just watched Penguins of Madagascar (the movie) yesterday, so I’m all for watching cartoons and sitcoms to unwind. Also, naps are a must in our household.

    Great post 🙂

  2. Has anyone responded to that Lannister line on a check or money order?

    I think being the stay-at-home parent/full-time author allows me to be more childlike than other adults. Might also explain why most of my family tends to talk to me as if I’m at the same maturity level as the 5-year-old. It really is about balance. As you said, get shit done in a fun way and then relax. There’s really no good reason to be miserable while doing work unless that’s part of the job description. Had a few jobs that probably had that in the fine print. Being the guy in the office with Evangelion figurines, a sphinx, and a Darkwing Duck figure (disappeared one day), I always got strange looks.

    Good luck adulting and finding time to be childlike.

    • Haha thanks. You know, a lot of people overlook the Lannister remark, except for my sister. When I pay my share of bills she gets it. It’s funny, when I stopped pretending to be “mature,” people were less judgmental than I thought. My last coworker was over thirty and loved Disney movies and she thought I was very brave to openly like what I did. She wouldn’t watch cartoons in front of her husband, so I think she was a little jealous of my confidence. People seem to get a kick out of my Hobbit sign when I put it on my computer. Stay childlike, Charles. Also, don’t forget your feature is this Friday. It looks great so far.

      • Thanks. I’ll keep an eye out for the post.

        There does tend to be a lot of understanding within the same group or level of employment. I tended to get odd looks from higher ups who weren’t my direct supervisor. Not that I was playing with the toys or anything. I always wonder what people expect you to do with all of that cubicle space. There are only so many cat posters you can have in one office building before it opens a void into the unknown.

      • I know, right? It’s not like they distract. They distress. At my office, we’re only supposed to have one personal effect. they even dictate what that is. It has to be a photograph. I’m getting away with a small squirrel stuffy, a lego legolas, and that stressball. I just put them away when my DM comes. haha

      • I’ve heard of places with rules like that. Really strange and doesn’t feel like it would create happy workers. My wife went for an interview at a place that allowed 4 personal affects and termination was the threat if one went for more. So weird.

  3. I’m sorry things are so difficult right now. I cope a lot like you do. Anything Disney helps. Cartoons are great. Music and singing. I listen to music from Disney and Barbie movies. I build Legos, do yard work. I also read my own stories or let them run through my head to keep in touch with my characters and worlds. I have enough real world pressures. There are times I just don’t want real life problems in my entertainment, too. I make no secret of the fact I love to build Legos and collect LOTR/Hobbit toys. I have them all over my house. There’s nothing wrong with letting your inner kid shine. I agree, it does NOT mean you’re immature. I hope your mom is doing better and that things smooth out for you soon so you can get back to your writing. Take care of yourself.

    • Thanks. Also, did not know you were a fellow Lego enthusiast. I learn something new about you all the time. What Hobbit sets do you have? My son practically has all of Mirkwood. I was so excited when he got Thranduil. My mom is doing good atm. Thank you for asking. She’s a tough cookie, and she’s enjoying this beautiful weather.

      • From the Hobbit I have Riddles for the Ring, Escape from Mirkwood Spiders (my son put the spiders together because I’m arachnophobic), Attack of the Wargs, An Unexpected Gathering, Barrel Escape, and the Goblin King Battle. I don’t have the ones that came out with the BoTFA yet. I really want the Lonely Mountain set with Smaug. Maybe for Christmas. I also have nine LOTR sets. I find building them therapeutic. Glad to hear your mom is doing okay.

  4. Reblogged this on Pilgrim of Eormen and commented:
    Great thoughts. I am similar, though I approach it from another angle – whereas your stationery is Disney-themed, mine is black, severe and oppressive, the stationery of a tyrannical, Dickensian accountant. Whenever I use it, it is like a game of pretending to be grown up and seeing who believes me…

  5. Jon

    I wouldn’t know anything about any of that. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and take a bath with my rubber ducks.

  6. I’ve been coping quite poorly lately. I stress and try to work harder, and it doesn’t seem to be helping. Drinking is an illusion. Most of this is from the paycheck job. Once I finish my MS, I vow not to start another one right away this time. I will take time for some fishing or foraging somewhere.

  7. I’m right there with you. It’s difficult to find time to write, especially with so much going on. I love your attitude about it though. Being childlike at times and just relaxing is a wonderful way to deal with it and manage stress. 🙂 My personal favorite activity to unwind–other than napping–is to play the Sims!

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