Living in the Real World is Overrated

Ever since I was a shy little kid I was told that I needed to stop daydreaming and living between the covers of books, to think about practical things, to buck up and be brave and live in the real world, to flow with the mainstream.

I tried, to some extent. I’ve successfully raised two children to adulthood, built a career – then left it to build another one that I love more – and managed (with help) to keep a roof over our heads. But I did it on my own terms, especially as I’ve grown older. I’ve immersed myself in stories and creativity and fun and whimsy. I encouraged my kids to be themselves.

It took me a long time to see the value of living the life of the imagination, to understand that I wasn’t born broken or wrong or “too sensitive.” I am me. Like each and every one of us, my value is innate.

There’s no point in trying to be someone else. In fact, when we try to fit our round peg into that square hole, it hurts. It takes a long time to recover from that kind of self-contempt. There’s really no need to go there in the first place.

Life needs us – the artists, creatives, the dreamers, the fairy-tale characters, the hippies, weirdos and freaks.

The way life works, despite the wishes of the masses, isn’t logical. One doesn’t travel one’s path in a well-planned straight line. Life doesn’t consist solely of the known and seen. There is mystery here. There are so many things beyond our comprehension – love being chief among them.

When you allow yourself to live from your own perspective – even if that includes aliens and 20-sided dice and sparkly pens and conversations with your cat and getting excited over a seashell or a sunset – you’re being authentic. You’re trusting the guidance of your own heart and she will never steer you wrong.

Yes, we must pay the bills and vote and give to good causes and register our cars and feed our families. But there’s so much more about life to savor and enjoy. Don’t let yourself get swallowed up by the mundane.

If you’re called to dance under the moonlight, devour hundreds of books and turn those inspirational words into stories of your own or paint a mural on the kitchen wall, do it!

Follow your heart. Be yourself. Living in the so-called real world all the time will stress you out and compromise your health. When you let yourself play, you allow the energies of the cosmos to uplift you.

There’s more to you than meets the eye. Savor your uniqueness. Be that round peg! Embrace your weirdness and your quirks.

Besides, take it from me, being yourself is much more fun.

Nikki Starcat Shields is an author, writing coach and leader of transformational writing retreats. She's also a licensed Pagan priestess. She invites you to a process of unfolding creativity. The world needs your unique wisdom - now is the time to finally take your inspired book idea and bring it forth into the world. Learn more at

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