I’ve been thinking a great deal about where I am today. Who am I? Where will I be in 5-10 years? Are the best years still ahead of me or behind me? What adventure lies for me and can I overcome my past that still haunts me? This is what happens when you are going through a mid-life crisis. To boot, I am a scifi geek, a dad, a husband, a librarian and podcaster/blogger. Notice how I put scifi geek first? This really speaks volumes to who I am. I am not putting down being a father and husband but I live my life by a certain perception.
For example, when I was transferred to my current assignment, I saw my large regional library branch as a Galaxy class starship as seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation; Enterprise 1701-D anyone? I could go on and on how I see myself as a Lieutenant specializing in science of adolescence culture (young adult librarian). Or seeing that Picard, who hates the idea of children onboard a starship, thinks having them aboard is a terrible idea runs parallel to my thinking. My starship (library) has a whole floor for kid and oh, if only we can jettison the saucer section (top floor) we can go into battle with the remaining star drive…. Ok, you get the idea. This is how I can deal with daily stress with fantasy like metaphors.
Some may think that scifi is just nothing but ships flying into space and fighting fuzzy woodland creatures with high-tech weaponry; yes to a degree but there comes a time when something strikes a nerve. There is a connection to what is said and how it applies to the world. As such, my Malcolm McDowells have provided me some incredible food for thought.
Let’s begin with Malcolm portrayal of Soran in Star Trek: Generations. I am not going to go into details about the plot but as the story goes Soran wants to get back into the Nexus and be inside of total happiness. With the loss of his wife and child, the Nexus holds the key to Soran’s drive and motivation. He even delivers a line to Picard early in the film, “They say time is the fire in which we burn…” is based on a line from a poem by Delmore Schwartz called “Calmly We Walk Through This April’s Day“. Now, with my mid-life crisis in full bloom, I am too racing against time and I feel that fire which we burn. Time is slipping too quickly and it terrifies me. I am one year older than the meaning of live and coming ever so closer to the age where I lost my stepfather. I can go at anytime. For all I know, this could be my last blog entry. But for now, I keep pushing and pushing. I give all that I can when I work and then what every energy I have left, I have to divide it up between my kids, spouse and my personal stuff which is my podcast/blog and other issues. And then on top of that, I am constantly fighting the fears of my morality. Now hold that thought.
As I am still struggling to get over this flu like symptoms, I called out sick one day last week and watched Heroes Season 1 on DVD. As I’ve said before on my podcasts, there is only one season on Heroes; season 2-4 never existed understood? I had completely forgotten that the character of Mr. Linderman was played by Malcolm McDowell once again. There was a brilliant quote that haunted me through my semi bouts of consciousness. Nathan Petrelli, who was running for office, was going to kill Linderman. Responding to the threat, Linderman delivered this line, “I think there comes a time when a man has to ask himself whether he wants a life of happiness or a life of meaning.” Nathan countered, “I’d like to think I have both.” Linderman gives this mindf@#k answer, “Can’t be done. Two very different paths. I mean, to be truly happy, a man must live absolutely in the present. And with no thought of what’s gone before, and no thought of what lies ahead. But, a life of meaning… A man is condemned to wallow in the past and obsess about the future. And my guess is that you’ve done quite a bit of obsessing about yours these last few days.” Talk about speaking to me through the TV screen. As you can see, I am stuck in the middle of these two quotes from the Malcolms.
This past weekend, my son was talking to me about the Lego Star Wars game for the Nintendo Gamecube. He was telling me how hard it was to play even though my daughter was playing with him. I just sat there listening to him and felt a rush of emotions overtaking me. I fought back the tears and I didn’t know why. That was until I remembered Linderman’s quote, “To be truly happy, a man must live absolutely in the present.” I was in that moment and was happy. Never mind that I felt like crap, the house being a mess or anything else for that matter; I was there in the moment.
Zoom from that point to yesterday where I had to pick up my son from my in-laws. It’s already late and he is very cranky. I go pick him up and he becomes a sack of potatoes. I try once more but mind you I have my heavy ass backpack and when I picked him up, I got kicked in my daddy buttons. (Little f$cker, I said to myself.) As I jingled off the pain and carried my son home, he was able to calm down to the point where he was no longer the were-baby. I got him dress for bed, gave him his night medicine and read him a story. Again, I was in the moment and yes, looking back on it, as painful as it was, it was funny but not back then. However, those moments in the present are far between each other. The rest of life gets in the way and bogs down one’s spirit. I start to look at the past which is too often and what will happen tomorrow.
Like in The Walking Dead graphic novel, there was talk about how normal, law-abiding citizens were civil to one another one day completely did a 180 degree turn and acted out on their impulses. Would this be living in the moment for a bit of happiness valid? I know that whatever feelings I have for people in my life there are certain things I can’t express without jeopardizing everything else. I know we should say how we feel to people in our lives because today may be just it. It’s one thing if I will no longer see the person but why can’t I be more open on a daily basis to those around me?
Frankly, I have more questions than answers for my own life ane even in myown rambling, I’m not clear myself. If are also going through a similar crisis, I would like to hear your thoughts and advice.