A Multi-Step Plan to Make Your Realities a Dream

Life has felt disturbingly surreal recently. I cannot be the only person who takes one look at the way things are going right now and mistakes it for a Saturday Night Live skit. It’s all a little too scripted. 

Starting in March, when the world as we knew it turned upside down, society began to look something like Contagion (2011). Everything was so alarmingly unknown, for all we knew, our world could end up resembling I Am Legend (2007) by the end of the pandemic. As summer came and went, it was clear that America had more issues to unpack than just a virus. We seemed to be simultaneously living in Do the Right Thing (1989) and The Handmaid’s Tale (1990). I don’t know about you, but I sure felt like whoever runs the universe was watching a highlight reel of the most horrifying films ever made. Now that steps have been made to address some of America’s greatest problems (theoretically), one would think things would ease up. We’ve seen enough, right? Wrong. The only way I can reason it all is that this is actually The Truman Show (1998) and I just have to walk up some fake ocean stairs to the exit. 

As someone who understands reality primarily through interpretations of it on a screen, these aforementioned films are not the realities I want to live in. On that note, I devised a multi-step plan to make this life, our current reality, feel like a film I would enjoy living in. I cannot promise that this plan is for everyone. Not everyone shares my taste in films. Nonetheless, I hope this at least inspires you to craft your reality where you need to. It’s okay to do a little pretending sometimes. 

fallen leaves on suburban road Original photo by Shea Humphries

Step 1: Put Earbuds In

This initial step isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it certainly sets the scene. Anytime life gets too apocalyptic for me, I put my earbuds in and turn the volume all the way up. What makes this first step crucial, though, is the choice of music. A podcast or audiobook simply won’t do. It must be music. Specifically, it must be movie music. I suggest anything Ludwig Goransson, Justin Hurwitz, Jose Gonzalez, Alexandre Desplat, and Micheal Giacchino have done. Their cinematic themes will instantly transport you.

Step 2: Go On a Walk

If you can, walk in nature. Get away from big buildings, hordes of people, and possible news sources that will bring you back to reality. My favorite thing is to walk amongst trees. With every snap of a twig beneath your feet and rustle of leaves above you, the forest can be a haven, a seemingly untouched land occupied solely by you. 

Step 3: Close Your Eyes

Stop what you’re doing and close your eyes for a moment. Let the music wash over you and nature envelop you. Think of your favorite comfort film, television show, or book. Imagine yourself there. Insert yourself into the narrative. How is that reality different than this one? Is there anything you can do to make this reality more like that one? What changes can you enact?

yellow forest in fall Original photo by Shea Humphries

Step 4: Dance

This step can be applied anywhere. Still on your nature walk? Dance. Back at home? Dance. In the car? Dance. For an extra boost of movie magic, dance in front of a mirror so you can see yourself as the main character. Because we’re all main characters. As someone who has never identified as much of a dancer, it took me a while to feel comfortable dancing in front of a mirror. Now, it is one of my favorite pastimes. 

Step 5: Narrate Your Life

I understand that this may seem like the silliest step of all. That is because it is. But, I am of the opinion that silly things aren’t always useless. Let’s say you’re taking a bus somewhere; that’s typically a boring experience. What makes it infinitely more fun is to narrate your bus ride as if the voice inside your head is Morgan Freeman. Describe each new passenger as they hop on. Glance out the window and narrate your view from a third-party’s perspective. “The bus missed this girl’s stop fifteen minutes ago. Too afraid to tell the bus driver, she is just going to sit here until she musters up the courage. Little does she know that the next passenger to board will change her life forever…” Just like that, you’re living in a John Hughes film. Don’t be afraid to narrate your life when you need to. All I suggest is that you don’t narrate aloud. 

If any or all of these steps provided you with a renewed creativity regarding this world, then my mission is complete. From my shallow knowledge of psychology, I know the world is only what we perceive it to be. I, personally, am not a fan of this current perception of reality. It’s scary and frustrating and sometimes feels hopeless. So, I guess I’m going to change my perception. 

Image Credit: PJ Gal-Szabo on Unsplash/ Edited by Shea Humphries 1, Shea Humphries 2, 3