Sunday, May 23, 2010

All the World's a Stage

I'm pretty sure it was Shakespeare who said, "All the world's a stage..." Okay, I am certain it was Shakespeare, from As You Like It.

I find people claim to be inspired by quotes. I love quotes. But I usually only truly feel them once or a handful of times, if the situation arises.

But right now, this quote has never inspired me more.

Technology has allowed us to keep track of people from our past. It's the most compelling thing in the world to see to whom everyone develops. Some people are slowly saving the world. Some surprise you by remaining stagnant.

In middle school I was certain that in college I would study English. I secretly wanted to be a teacher but was afraid the life would be "too normal" for me. I never really shared these aspirations. I wrote like crazy. Hundreds of pages of stories, poems, journal entries. I even had the guts to enter a short story into the annual city-wide literature fair in seventh grade, although short stories were deemed the most difficult category to place, let alone win.

Nonetheless, I knew my place.

And I won.

In a town of nearly half a million people, my hometown, I had beat every seventh and eighth grade short story entry.

It was my life's shining moment. And it proved something to others, although I was unsure of what that was at the time.

In middle school, I didn't have many friends so I spent all of my spare time learning, studying, and writing. It was one of the most productive times of my life. I had the highest grade (or a tie with multiple people) in every one of my classes. But something was missing.

I moved to a new town, went to high school, made friends, made mistakes, and changed my mind about my aspirations. I wanted to make money. I wanted to prove that I was smart.

This is where Shakespeare comes in.

The world really is a stage. We all think we're fooling everyone. Sometimes we play roles. And sometimes we're better actors than others.

A stage is merely an illusion. An appearance. People can be led to believe whatever they want to believe by a premeditated presentation.

Being an English major can lead people to believe whatever they want to believe about me. They may think I'm smart. But what's not to say I'm just a babbling idiot? Some may think I'm simple minded. But what about all of those thoughts I can only express after the fact? Does timing define "my act"?

We tend to judge people based on the things they say, the things they believe in, the way they defend themselves, and the dreams they aspire. We almost always decide ahead of time if someone's dream is feasible or far-fetched based on what we already know.

But in life everything is just an illusion. We may think someone is dressed in all the most expensive clothes only to learn that everything they buy is on sale or from Target (this is the best kind of illusion- one I wish I was more able to produce!). But in our minds, it's sometimes easier to just pretend that someone else's success isn't attainable.

We may feel put down because someone else may appear to be more successful. It may torment us into thinking that we aren't as smart as they are, even though we are all multi-faceted and intelligent in ways that others cannot be.

Sometimes the best we can do is raise our masks and await the curtains' unveiling.

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