What your favorite fairy tales say about you

Today, let’s follow the breadcrumbs. What’s your favorite fairy tale? And what do you think that revelation might say about you? Indulge me, if you will.

I recently encountered an imaginative blog that posed those two questions, and I found the analysis and my own reaction to the questions intriguing. Even if you don’t, the topic could make good dinner-party conversation in the coming weeks. After all, these are challenging times and we have a fair amount of winter weather still ahead. A little whimsy and distraction might be in order.

The entirely unscientific “Breadcrumb Trails: A Fairy Tale Blog” advises, “If you’re a believer in inner beauty” and resonate with the idea of loving someone based on their thoughtfulness or intellect, rather than what they look like, “Beauty and the Beast” is probably your choice. You might be one of these people who never expect the frog to become a prince because you really like frogs. Oops, wrong fairy tale.

“Cinderella” would probably be your choice if you always root for the underdog. It could also be you’re from Philadelphia and watch a lot of football.

My favorite fairy tale is “Jack and the Beanstalk.” I like to think I am courageous and fearless about what may be at the top of the next beanstalk. I also admire the fact Jack was so deeply devoted to his mother and wanted to do whatever he could to support her. His judgment was a little flawed at times, however. But that’s true of all of us, don’t you think?

If you are “an adventurous dreamer,” but perhaps even more impulsive than Jack, “The Little Mermaid” might be your selection. Do you like living on the edge? Is thrill and excitement your preference? Then “Little Red Riding Hood” comes to mind as a possible choice. I warm to the fact she’s usually depicted wearing a cape, just like many of today’s superheroes. And don’t forget she was in the woods alone and stood up to the big bad wolf. Friends of the #MeToo movement, take special note.

So many choices here — feeling trapped? Let "Rapunzel" lead the way. Are you in the mood for romance and sweet resolutions that involve a lot of kissing? Do you believe in the concept of evil and good fairies in this world — with the latter prevailing? If so, “Sleeping Beauty” might be your consideration. Just be wary of the potential prick of any unexpected flax-spinning gadgets.

I almost forgot about “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” The blog that got me started on this line of thinking suggested it’s “a fairy tale for someone who is the ultimate optimist,” a person who can always find something to be happy about. So if you feel fulfilled “whether you’re living in a castle or running for your life in a forest,” this is definitely the fairy tale for you.

OK, I’m done spinning tales about fairy tales. In closing, may I simply offer, wherever breadcrumbs may lead you today and throughout the coming week, I hope you land on happily ever after.

— Sharon Johnson is an associate professor emeritus at Oregon State University and the executive director of Age-Friendly Innovators. Reach her at Sharon@agefriendlyinnovators.org.

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