November 5, 2019,

You have to live your life like it never happened, even though you know full well that it did.

And you know that in great detail.

Still, it is better not to think about it. Like a friend of ours knows.

Alicia is in our circle.

Her past is so problematic that we wonder how in the world she can function in the present when she has suffered so much loss and devastation in her past.

Much of it came into her life. She doesn’t drink, sleep around, smoke, eat unhealthy or engage in overly self-destructive behavior. Her flaw is that she allowed so many horrible to questionable people to come into her life with a soft smile and collectively they annihilated her.

We’ve asked her about that and her response is that when she engages in spiritual down time like yoga or meditation, she dreams of an alternate life.

In detail. Colorful details. Over and over.

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She essentially keeps the dream world consistent so that it becomes more real. It is the life that she wished that she had lived as opposed to the one that she has.

Alicia takes full responsibility for her major life mistakes but given the high level of sadness, pain and feelings of failure, this alternate life is a nice escape for her.

After she successfully graduated from college with honors, she was supposed to have a very successful life.

Not this one.

She could always escape to the cinema. There are a number of films available that speak to people living in an alternate reality.

The Thirteenth Floor is probably at the top of the list.

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The Thirteenth Floor is a 1999 neo-noir science fiction crime thriller film written and directed by Josef Rusnak, and produced by Roland Emmerich.

It is loosely based upon Simulacron-3 (1964), a novel by Daniel F. Galouye, and a remake of the German film World on a Wire (1973).

The film stars Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Dennis Haysbert. In 2000, The Thirteenth Floor was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, but lost to The Matrix, another alternate reality film.

The storyline goes, in 1999 Los Angeles, Hannon Fuller (Mueller-Stahl) owns a multibillion-dollar computer enterprise and is the inventor of a newly completed virtual reality (VR) simulation of 1937 Los Angeles, filled with simulated humans unaware they are computer programs.

Intriguing.

You can live a full life and at the end of your days find out that it was never real.

Sometimes in real life as we get towards the end of our days, we wish the life we lived was never real.

We think of some of the other alternate reality films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Donnie Darko, Jacob’s Ladder, Vanilla Sky and others where it is hard to tell what is real and what isn’t.

That is not what Alicia desires nor is trying to accomplish.

Why not?

Because those are alternate lives that are imposed upon the people involved.

She wants an alternate life where she controls the narrative and, unlike her real life, where she can tell who is who, especially in terms of honor, integrity and sincerity as opposed to the people she met in real life that when the final outcomes were finally revealed, had deceived her.

In regards to her dream life that she retreats in to, Alicia wants to make something crystal clear.

This is not the common complaint that is regret for the path not taken.

In most ways, she actually embarked upon the right path, she just meet a lousy cast of characters along the way. The Wizard of Oz with arsenic.

So her remorse is not for what she believes, was a better choice unlived. She doesn’t compare herself to an almost perfect alternative self that made all of the right choices, did things right the first time, made no mistakes and blossomed into this imagined epitome of herself with a totally different life.

She knows that comparison is to doom her to failure.

This thinking is supported by Mr. William Berry, LMHC, CAP, who wrote at Psychology Today, “For those who, for one reason or another embrace an “other life”, there is an alternative solution to escape: finding a way to embrace your life and your choices. This begins by working to cease the self-deprecation involved in comparing yourself to an imaginary, and unrealistic, self.”

For emphasis, Alicia is not comparing her current life to her dream one. She is simply escaping into this alternate life that she created. It is not the path not traveled. It is the imaginary dream life traveled.

So what is Alicia’s alternate life exactly?

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She quietly explained that she has had pictures taken and portraits drawn of her as her alternate self. Her attire is more upscale. There she is younger, more beautiful and wealthier than she is now. She is not dependent upon a man and has the power and control to choose the males that she is interested in. She is brighter and more adept at motivating people in a positive way. She dines at the finest restaurants and engages in stimulating conversations.

She rarely deviates from this script.

In the dark, as she meditates, she replays it over and over. It is soothing and fulfilling. Her character always wins there. This is working so well that as time passes, she enhances that alternate dream life and never compares it to the real one.

It is a dream life.

It is a life she probably never would have had even if she made all of the right decisions when she was younger.

Okay, we’ve bought in to her fantasy.

Is there cause for concern?

Not really. Isn’t that what going on vacations to theme parks are about? Temporarily you are getting away and escaping reality. The problem becomes if you choose to stay in that alternate vacation reality and not go back to work and your pressing life responsibilities.

As long as Alicia doesn’t compare this virtual dream life in the dark to her real life, we think that she is okay. She has found an exceptional vacation spot and instead of traveling to different ones, she keeps coming back to the same one and even enhances it.

It’s not for us.

We choose to enhance and improve the sometimes disappointing life that we have now. It is about percentages for us. If we are currently 60 percent happy, how do we get that up to 75 percent?

We understand Alicia’s approach and long-term commitment to her dream life.

Please just limit it to meditation and yoga retreats we advise.

Please don’t ever compare it to your real life, we strongly suggest.

Just enjoy it for what it is.

A dream.

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Opening photo Columbia Pictures photo credit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirteenth_Floor

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-second-noble-truth/201309/other-life

https://grapplingstars.com/

https://fciwomenswrestling.com/