All of us tend to see our own life as a journey with goals and obstacles that get in the way of attaining those goals. So when we hear a story in the form of the hero’s journey, we respond from the deepest reaches of the psyche. This familiar way of looking at the world may be an illusion. True life may actually be a muddle, in which we may never get around to formulating clear goals, so we don’t set out on any journey in which, after encountering obstacles along the way, we finally attain our goal.
We become grown-ups only to find that there are no easy answers (and, to further complicate matters, we can’t let the kids see that we don’t have all the answers). The simple, reliable, and comforting structure of the hero’s journey is in fact how we make sense of the muddle of our lives, how we view our experiences in the world and the experiences of those around us, and how we retell it. The hero’s journey is how we comprehend and derive meaning from our messy lives and the vexing world surrounding us.