Came across this recently:
And it reminded me of this bit from Glory Road by Robert Heinlein put in the words of the first person narrator Evelyn Cyril (Oscar) Gordon:
“What did I want? I wanted a Roc’s egg. I wanted a harem loaded with lovely odalisques less than the dust beneath my chariot wheels, the rust that never stained my sword,. I wanted raw red gold in nuggets the size of your fist and feed that lousy claim jumper to the huskies! I wanted to get u feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a like wench for my droit du seigneur–I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles.
I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, “The game’s afoot!” I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and the Lost Dauphin.
I wanted Prestor John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and eat the lotus in a land that seemed always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be what they had promised me it was going to be–instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.”
Gordon was about to get that. However, very few people get selected by Her Wisdom, Star, the Empress of 20 Universes to tread the Glory Road.
As a kid I wanted so very many things. I wanted to be a super hero. I wanted to walk on the moon and Mars. I wanted to venture beyond the solar system and be the first to see some star and its planets up close with my own eyes. I wanted to find a world of magic where I could help to defeat dark forces in the service of the light.
I wanted a lot of stuff that I couldn’t have.
I couldn’t have it, but I could at least write about it. A lot of my early fiction was me imagining myself in these places what I hoped to do, what I hoped to accomplish in them. Oh, I never went full “Mary Sue” (Marty Stu) giving “myself” unlimited abilities–the gallant hero, master of every form of combat, handsome, brave, wise, educated in all the arts and sciences, so wonderful that lesser men grovel at his feet. Okay, I rarely went full Marty Stu.
It was a learning experience.
But always I had to come back to a humdrum existence.
But does existence have to be so humdrum? I may not be the first to climb Everest but any slope I ascend for the first for me. I’d never been there before. I may not walk on the moon, but there are places I haven’t walked. There are places where you can go and do a full three hundred sixty degree turn and not see one sign of human habitation from you to the horizon.
So maybe I have to be responsible, to see that my daughter gets to school every day, that there’s food on the table and a roof over our heads. But that doesn’t mean I can’t find things to stretch myself, to challenge myself, a world beyond the humdrum.
So, while in between all the bills needing paid and dirty socks needing washed, find something exciting.
Go skydiving. Challenge gravity and win.
Take a flying lesson. You may not have the time and money to get a license but just once you can have your hands on the controls of an airplane and have it respond to what you do.
Leave the ordinary behind, if only for an hour.
Dum vivimus vivamus.
While we live, let us live!