My son told me about a plot he created for a dystopian movie. It involved dissidents being sent to a dreaded penal colony another planet away, never to interact with the home civilization again. When they got there, they realized it wasn’t the hell they feared and fled from their whole lives, but a paradise filled with the best minds (the kind who would be banished from a despotic society). Incidentally, the only way to discover paradise a planet away was to be captured and banished, since no one there had any way to inform others about what was waiting on the other side of the law.
It got me thinking about examples of similar expectational twists, when the most deeply dreaded outcome turns out to be better than anything you could’ve imagined. Especially those where there is no way of knowing how good it can be until you do it.
Everyone fears the horror of a world without government support for education. What if no one could afford to go to school? Most assume hell, I think it would be delightful. Our transition into unschooling was a microcosm of this realization.
Leaving your loved ones sounds terrifying to most. What if you were uprooted from your hometown, leaving all friends, family, and network behind, forced to start fresh in a new city far away? Few things are more amazing and valuable for personal growth. In fact, the more you fear it, the more you probably need to do it. And you can’t ever access what’s on the other side without biting the bullet and saying goodbye.
My son was convinced our new baby would ruin the balance in the family, taking his happiness with it. He came home and met his baby brother and told me his months of stress were for naught. Maybe that’s what inspired his plot.
I suspect death will be the ultimate plot twist of fear into wonder. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.