This is going to sound stupid. When I was a kid I wanted to be a wizard. I wanted to connect with the universe. I wanted to have magic powers. I wanted to find a community of people like me who could understand my yearning. I didn't think real people could be wizards but I spent a lot of time reading about psychic powers and witchcraft in the hopes that there was some way they could (no, they couldn't). What I couldn't find in the real world, I imagined. I kept my nose stuck in lots of fantasy books that let me explore what it might be like. I played games like D&D to pretend I was a wizard. Of course, such dreams eventually faded with childhood.
As an adult, I got a respectable job as a software developer and moved on. My job isn't bad. Don't let me come off that way. But sometimes I thought I wanted something more satisfying that there must be more to life. I found myself thinking back to what I wanted to be when I was a little kid--what had attracted me so much to being a wizard? And was there some aspect of that attraction that I could find in the real world, something I could pursue?
Wizards were known for all kinds of things. I thought about studying ancient tomes filled with hidden truths about the universe. Well, I do read a lot, but I don't find myself that interested in studying textbooks on math and medicine and physics and engineering which would technically fit the bill. I mean, they all contain truths about the universe, right? Just boring truths that I didn't have much use for. I could read lots of books on quantum physics and maybe understand the universe better than most people... No, that sounds boring. No Quantum physics for me. I had enough of math and science in school that I don't need to spend my free time studying it too.
Okay, so what else were wizards known for? I thought about magic powers. Flying, telepathy, invisibility, shooting out bolts of energy. I was a little startled to realize that I could simulate many of these things in the real world. I mean I can fly in airplanes, right? I could even take up sky-diving or hang-gliding if the airplane experience wasn't "real" enough. But no, I don't really want to take up hang-gliding or sky-diving. I can't become invisible but I could set up cameras and tape recorders all over the place to see what people are doing when I'm not there... No, no real interest there. I don't really care what they're doing.
What about shooting bolts of energy or summoning fire like that fire-starter girl? Well, there are Taser guns and flamethrowers, but what the hell would I do with those? Just Taser random people? Burn down houses with my flamethrower? Nope. No real interest there either. I don't want to hurt anyone and magic to hurt people really isn't that different from using a club or a gun.
Telepathy--Well okay, we can't really pull that off yet. But do I really want to know what people are thinking about all the time? What if their thoughts are offensive, disgusting, boring? I mean, if people have thoughts that have to do with me, can't I just expect them to tell me instead of having to read their minds? Better that than combing through all the trash of their random thoughts. That sounds more like reading random blogs and web article comment sections, things that are usually boring and filled with useless stuff. Who would want that all the time? The internet has enough of it already.
Some wizards could heal people but I had no interest in being a doctor or EMT. Some wizards could control the weather but I didn't feel the need. Besides, I could always move somewhere with better weather if I really didn't like the way it was here.
So what else? Why did I want to be a wizard so bad when I was a kid? Wizards were known for power over others, being able to do things that other people can't or that other people didn't even understand. Hey, I've kinda got that now. I'm a software developer so I can read code that others don't understand. I can create a functioning website or database query that others can't. Whoopity-do. So much for special knowledge.
And really the power thing was probably more appealing for a kid since they're so often powerless in their little worlds, doing all the things adults tell them to do. Currently, I'm a manager too and having power over people is a lot more hassle than fun. How much time I spend agonizing over how best to manage my team that I wouldn't have to spend if I didn't have that power. What if you have to tell someone they're doing something wrong? Or even fire them? Doesn't sound like fun at all. Like in Spiderman, power is really about responsibility more than anything else. So power over others is overrated, at least to me. Nothing to pursue there.
I was beginning to think that being a wizard wasn't so great after all. If you can replace Harry Potter's wand with a Taser and his broom with an ultralight airplane and his patronus with a trained attack dog, it's kinda depressing if the story still works the same without much difference. Still, there had to be something else that wizards do that I really wanted to do as a kid.
And there was something else. Often when I thought about wizards, I thought about them making things. Conjuring illusions out of thin air. Bringing things to life. Creating something astounding and beautiful. That's when it clicked for me. The closest, real-life counterpart to a wizard would have to be... an artist. With some lines and shadows, they can bring an empty piece of paper to life. They can carve/mold a lifeless substance into something incredibly lifelike.
Art may be the only past-time where a person can take things that only exist in in their head and put them into a physical form. I'm skipping writers here only because the writing really brings things to life inside of other people's heads. Oh yeah, I'm skipping engineers too... just because. I'm sure there's some good reason to think their creations aren't quite like their imaginations but I can't come up with it right now. Work with me here.
In the end, it was this creativity that attracted me to being a wizard. And maybe being an artist was the best way that I could accomplish this goal in some ersatz fashion. And maybe through art, I could do something magical. So this realization has helped motivate my artwork, helped me to practice more, helped to inspire me. It helped me to make time for a hobby that I don't always have time for. I keep drawing and painting and sculpting. I keep reading about art. I keep taking classes. Because I still want to be a wizard. And I still want to create something magical.
Listening to: "A Dance of Dragons" audiobook by Martin
Reading: "Spice" by Jack Turner
Watching: 24 and Person of Interest
Drinking: Constant Comment (hot tea)