I haven’t given this a lot of thought – at least, not over an extended time – but I can’t shake the thought exercise either. It’s sticking to me like winter lint: what would my idealized avatar look like?
Yesterday I was listening to Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk on how and why she developed SuperBetter, an app that applies video game theory to recovery and wellness. Not surprisingly, as a gamer, she advocates playing in general and video games in particular, although that’s not the point of her talk. It’s a brief interlude, one little slide in the course 19 minutes, but there’s this moment in which she muses on the merits of avatars and embodying our idealized superhero selves.
The question snagged: what would my idealized avatar look like?
This seems to me tricky territory, riddled with stereotypes, archetypes and every imaginable sort of hype. How does one go there without succumbing to derivative commercialized images? Without conjuring Wonder Woman or something even more Disney-esque? Over the years I’ve tried to avoid what I consider the Hero Trap, the peril of pedestals, the self-inflicted disappointment of human imperfection getting crosswise of adulation. Perspective is a warpy thing: look up to people too much and you lose sight of who they actually are.
But it’s too tempting…what would my idealized avatar look like?
Today’s version is rough — a very drafty draft. And I’m just going to cop to the branding issues: they’re there. My elements are chosen not for who they actually are, but for what they mean to me. I don’t know these people – I just know a bit of their work product, their brands. You’ll see what I mean.
I still haven’t quite figured out what my super hero mission is — which might have some bearing on what an idealized form ought to take. It isn’t an existential crisis, yet, but it’s worth noting for further consideration. I’ll have to come back to that.
In the meantime, my idealized avatar version 1.0 would:
- Have the strength of Serena Williams
- Write like Ann Patchett, Stephen Hawking and Bill Bryson combined
- Dream like the love child of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk
- Have the courage of Brene Brown or Malala Yousafzai
- Sing like Ella Fitzgerald on her very best days
- Rock her grey hair like Helen Mirren
- Cook great meals and sleep well at night.
So my first-draft idealized avatar self is a powerful, visionary, eloquent, elegant old soul.
I can work with that.