I’ve been thinking a lot about magic and what it means to me. When I was a child, it meant a letter from Hogwarts or a closet to Narnia. As I got older, I saw that magic in that regard wasn’t necessarily real, but I leaned heavily into the magic promised by romantic comedies. Now that I’m pretty much an adult (a horrifying thought) my definition of magic needs to change once again.
Coming home from England for the holidays, I was expecting to eat Wawa every day and go for long walks on the beach. Well, it’s much colder and windier in New Jersey than I remember, and even if Wawa was as delicious as promised – which it was – I was stuck with the feeling that my heart was being torn in two. I miss the magic of Oxford and my friends there, but I wanted to be present with my family in New Jersey.
The result was that, in the season of Christmas, I was reminded of all the fantasies I’ve had to abandon over the years. Not just those of Santa and bookish fairy-tale lands, but those of what my life would be like at this point. I think a part of me was holding out hope that something miraculous would happen, that it would become clear I was a protagonist and not a side-character to someone else’s story. I was waiting to be swept off my feet.
Well, it’s come time for me to find magic in the every day – small magic in moments of transit, in quiet mornings and good cups of tea. It’s come time to prove to myself that I choose to be the protagonist of my own story, by manifesting what I desire in life and appreciating what I have.
It snowed here last night, and today with a lot of encouragement from my mother, I went along to see the beach. I’m so glad I did – the wind and the snow-kissed sand made me feel like I was on another planet, filling my mind with ideas for stories and other worlds. I said to my mother,
“When I was talking to you about magic, and fearing that magic was out of my life… this is what I meant. It seems silly that I could think I would lose my sense of wonder at seeing something so vast as the ocean, or as beautiful as a sunset. Doesn’t it seem silly?” she replied,
“You’ve always seen things that way – not because it’s who you are, though you are imaginative – but because you choose to. You have to choose to manifest wonder if your life.”
And she’s right. You have to seek wonder out, cultivate it, look for it and wait for it patiently. I guess what I’m trying to say is – magic isn’t gone from my life, even if I’ll never get my letter from Hogwarts. It has just shifted to become something more quiet, more subtle, and more poignant.