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The ‘Real World’

November 16, 2014

“Grow up. You live in the real world now.”

“The real world’s not like that.”

“Things are expensive in the real world.”

The term ‘real world’ has its uses, and we could certainly do to acquaint ourselves with skills used in working jobs. Yet, on the whole, I have some ‘real’ problems with the ‘real world’.

The Real World is Undefined

The real world isn’t a term with a nice, 2 sentence dictionary definition. It’s a term that supposedly describes an entire world. Now, I doubt that everybody who says ‘real world’ has described the entire world to themselves, or that their description matches everybody else word for word. In sort, the real world is whatever world you live in, and generally – based on how the phrase is used – it’s a world of misery, cold, heartless people and a struggle on your part. Lets just say that an optimist rarely uses the phrase. When did you last hear “Come on kiddo! The real world of taxes, work and having to pay your own bills begins! A chance to begin anew on a tough road!”

Come to think of it, I don’t remember ever hearing that.

The Real World is Unrepresentative of the World

Pursuant to the above, the real world is often loaded with negative connotations. And its certainly true that duties and responsibilities exist in the real world, and a certain level of prudence is necessary. The problem is that in meaning this when we say ‘real world’ we ignore the rest of life. We get a view just as shallow and misguided as the naïve optimist’s rose coloured glasses, and lacking in colour.

Its hard to describe the world in two words. I would suggest people be specific about aspects of the world.

You Captain Your Own Life

Great forces crest in tides all around us. The man who does not feel the sting of an economic recession, or changes in gender norms since the 1970s is an odd breed indeed. But, for all these things, to deny man the capacity to influence his own life is ridiculous. If we are riding a ship in an ocean and you ask “do the tides control this ship?” what would I say?

No. The captain controls the ship, and lays in the course.

What this means is that you – ultimately – are the one who will decide whether to interpret a slight and respond in course, or laugh it off. You have a choice whether to help charity or not. There are times when it may not seem like we have a choice because the consequences are vast, but in truth you always have a choice.

You might have unpalatable choices, but you still have the capacity to live as you choose in the real world. You have the choice to avoid the drudgery and weary boredom connoted by ‘the real world’.

Lay In Your Course

Captain, I speak to you. Its true – you need to grow up, embrace responsibility, work hard, and in short sail at sea where you will be buffeted by tides like the ‘real world’. Dealing with choppy waters – ‘the real world’ – is a part of life, and you must be able to survive. You must not capsize. But, captain, you must also realise that you are not always travelling on choppy waters. There’s plain sailing, ports to stop at, and joys to be had. It is up to you to seize these boons for what they are. Captain, you need to lay in your course.

If you do Captain, you’ll see that ‘the real world’ isn’t so scary as you might have once thought.

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