Life Is Not A Story
As an English major, I read and analyzed fiction every day during college. So much so that when things happened in my life — big, upsetting, unexplainable things — I struggled to analyze them. What was the narrative purpose of this breakup? If I studied abroad, how would that further my character? I was confusing myself, trying to force my life into a neat story arc.
But every time I tried to understand myself as a character or my life as a trajectory that should have a beginning, a central conflict, and a conclusion, I set myself up for failure. Thinking of my life that way made me unhappy; it simply didn’t work.
It didn’t work because life isn’t a story. We write stories to make sense of life.