Where Did the Magic Go?
It was pushed out by fear and doubt.
I remember playing make-believe with the next-door neighbor girl who was my age.
We would run around the backyard with sticks as swords, burying treasure, and sailing the high seas we found in my 4 foot-deep swimming pool.
The magic was still there in middle school when books like Harry Potter were released and became mainstream. I remember writing in my diary about how I wanted to go to Hogwarts and learn magic.
In high school, the magic changed a little. This was the magic of late-night drives after a dance, hanging out with my girlfriends listening to what each other wanted from life. It was an exciting time of figuring out who we were and who we wanted to be. We weren’t afraid to dream, and dream big.
We’d drive fast and recklessly, whooping and hollering at people we passed. We’d get into trouble with our parents for sneaking out after dark to park in cars with boys. Our parents didn’t realize was that we still believed in magic, not rules or worrying about getting enough sleep.
The magic of howling at the moon, running wild under the stars. The magic of youth makes you climb trees and swim in lakes and oceans without fear.
That magic lasted through my first semester of college when I was still convinced I could do anything I set my mind to.
It was when I was faced with signing up for my second semester of classes that I felt it. Doubt. I was looking at the course roster and I didn’t want to take any of those classes. I also was looking at the cost of the classes and told myself I didn’t want to work that much to pay for all those classes.
I wanted to have fun. I wanted to read what I wanted to read, not some too-expensive, shiny-ass textbook. Reading was for fun, not for learning Calculus.
That was the first crack in my magical armor.
Soon after that semester, I moved out of my parents' house to my sister’s house who was going through a divorce. In that house, a different kind of magic showed up. This was the magic of alcohol, drug experimentation, and one-night stands.
This type of magic lasted through my military service also. Drinking, foreign lands, ride-or-die friends, it all passed in a blur of heat, ocean, and alcohol.
After a long road of breakups, divorce, new love, moving, several new jobs, I think I can finally say I know where the magic went.
It was replaced by fear. Fear of what to do next, fear of not knowing what’s next, fear that any decision I make will be the wrong one, fear that I’ll be stuck in a job I hate forever, fear of being alone. And doubt. I doubted my own abilities and settled into a life of indecision.
As a kid, if you were lucky, all your needs were taken care of, which allowed magic and creativity, and fun to flow through you constantly. As an adult, it’s more difficult to have your needs met when you’re unhappy with your life.
You spend and eat too much trying to improve your mood, trying to make up for a lack of fun and purpose. You sit on the couch watching shows of people living exciting lives. You scroll miles through social media, jealous because there are people out there living the life you want.
We forgot how to have fun. We replaced it with fear and doubt. And because we focus on the fear and doubt it continues to cycle back around, so we stay in this awful loop.
Now we worry about eating the right things and staying in shape (or getting back into shape), our joints and bones grind and creak, our skin sags, and we don’t sleep well. We depend on coffee or worse to just keep us going.
How do we break free from this? How do we encourage fun and magic back into our lives? We need to sit quietly and listen to what our heart has been trying to tell us all along. No cell phone, no TikTok, no To-Do list, just sit quietly and listen to your heart of hearts.
Yes, the magic has changed, but not by much. Ask yourself, “What does magic mean for me now?” What could you change to make your life feel more magical? Is it quitting the job you hate? Is it moving across the country? Is it moving to France and opening a bakery? Writing that book? Buying that motorcycle?
Then, what’s one step you can take to bring this magic into your life? What’s the smallest step you can think of?
Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, if you’re done living in mediocrity, you’re done. Make that decision, because that’s the thing about bringing magic back into our lives, the alternative is worse — and you’ve already been living the alternative.
Once you begin to listen and obey what your intuition tells you, and start moving toward that job you know you’d love (the one where the work doesn’t feel like work), and start taking your vacations, and start saving for that motorcycle, you begin to pull better things to you. But you have to start the process — just like you started the fear and doubt cycle.
And we stop listening to our excuses because that’s all they are — excuses.