As a guy gets old, he realizes it’s harder to find magic in everyday life. When you’re a kid the entire world is magic. The woods behind the house is some mysterious hidden forest where trolls, elves and you name it lurk. The old beaten down place down the street is a haunted house, and the guy living there is a mad scientist or something just as exciting. Worst of all, monsters lurk in the shadows once the sun drops behind the horizon. The thing is, magic is everywhere when you’re young.
That isn’t so true once you become a fully functioning adult. Magic becomes a weekend where you’re not working around the house or visiting the in-laws. Magic is a hard commodity to buy especially when you’re married with kids. Most of the time, instead of experiencing magic through your children’s eyes, you’re too busy keeping reality from falling down around them.
Then, you find yourself a little older, and magic is all but impossible to remember let alone find. Your body begins to do evil tricks on you. You get out of bed to use the bathroom and you grunt like your grandfather to start the process, or your knee goes out and you hobble into the bathroom praying your prostate isn’t playing even eviler tricks on you. Growing old is the act of devoiding yourself of magic. You have to, just to survive or stop from going to the booby hatch.
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking. I’ve read this dude’s blog and know he’s just one big kid. True, but the sad fact is I’m more reality based than I let on. I had to conform to the system. I am ashamed to admit that, but it’s true. Hey, I found the perfect woman and got married. I had her and a beautiful daughter to support. You can’t hunt orcs in the backyard all the time and give the people you love the life they deserve being totally goofy. Sometimes goofy is okay.
About eight years ago, I found an outlet for the kid I kept locked inside me. Writing. Whereas, a rousing game of Dungeons and Dragons might have been near impossible, writing real life fictional ones wasn’t. Before you get the idea my wife wouldn’t allow me inside the D & D circle of friends I once had, they too grew up, moved ahead, or just moved away. For a long time, writing allowed magic to bloom inside me again, like it had when I was a kid playing with my Star Wars men in front of Saturday morning cartoons.
But, a funny thing happened. My daughter grew up and moved out. Now, she has a family of her own. Another thing is I grew older. My body moves a little slower than it used to. I forget things I should know. My mom and dad have grown older. Heck, that whole generation is slowing fading from the superhero status I once looked at them as having. In essence reality became my own mortality staring me in the face. Magic has definitely become harder and harder to find.
This year, I’ve been forced to see I’m not going to live forever. Knowing something and accepting it are two different things. I’ve spent time going back and forth to the doctor. My wife has as well. I watch my dad stumble a bit when he walks and take breaks when just a few short years ago he could work circles around. He still can according to him. My mom is in the hospital after suffering a stroke. People my age are dropping like flies. Who could find a trace of magic in all that happening?
I’ll tell you, I couldn’t. I found myself sinking into a self imposed pity party. Not even comic books, action figures and Star Wars could bring me out of it. The fear of losing those I love most took hold of me. Instead of wonder and light, I could only see darkness and a sinking despair I doubted I’d ever dig myself out of. Where was the yellow brick road when I needed it?
I’m more than a little ashamed to admit, I found it. One day while taking my wife to see a specialist about two hours away from our hometown, we pulled over to grab a quick bite. Quick bite being a Happy Meal to try and save a couple dollars so we could treat ourselves on the way home. As I shoved fries into my mouth, I glanced at the toy. It was a white unicorn with pink hair. What the crap! I’d told them the boy toy. Pulling up at a red light I took this ‘thing’ out of my box and started to throw it in the backseat. But, you know, it was kind of cute. I found myself feeling a little calmer just by holding it. Taking it out of its plastic bag, its tail curled around my finger. As anyone knows, guys are suckers for thing’s curling around our fingers. My own grandson’s finger around mine had taught me that lesson.
Next thing I knew, I was rapidly collecting the whole set of My Little Ponys from Mickey D’s. Then, I started buying the cheap four buck ones. Hey, it’s a victimless crime. Ponys make me happy for some weird strange reason. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, until my wife laughed at me and called me a ‘Freaking Brony’. The wrongness continued as she explained what a Brony was. I could have stopped the thing right then and there by giving the collection to my little sister, but I didn’t.
Magic is just too hard to find to toss it away because of what other people might think. Sure, it might make me a bit sillier than I already am, but I’m a writer. Writer’s need muses. Mine just so happen to be ponies with curly tails and big eyes. Here’s the kicker. Normal people need magic too, not just writers, musicians or artists. We, yes, I’m grouping myself with normal people, need something to brighten our lives. It doesn’t have to be a toy. It could be a child’s smile. Sitting in a boat with all of God’s creation around you as you fish alone or with a friend. It can even be a Mall and that once in a lifetime sale. You just have to find your magic wherever you can and cling to it like it’s the most important thing in the world. If you can do that, you’re richer than you have ever been and something much more important. Happy.
So, feel free to laugh my mid-life Broniness. I don’t mind. Know why? Because for one brief second I made you smile. I was that muse that showed you magic and happiness exists. If we’re both lucky, you’ll pass the feeling onto to someone else, and they keep the process flowing. And, if we’re all really lucky, we’ll find ourselves in a world where hate, bigotry and all the other junk that makes our lives so miserable just doesn’t exist.
Funny thing is, if it actually happens, it’ll have started because on one day a worried husband stopped off and bought him and his wife a quick meal and got a My Little Pony instead of the boy’s toy.
Serendipity is a fickle mistress and loves a good practical joke every once in awhile. Before you ask, yes, my broniness will probably find itself into one of my books. That’s what writer’s do. We take the absurdness of reality and make it into something a reader will say that will never happen in real life. Strangely enough, things like that often do. As I waddle off to brush some pony hair, go out and find your magic. As my very good friend Paisley Kirkpatrick loves to tell me, ‘Smile’ and maybe the magic you’re looking for will find you.