Thursday, May 8, 2008

Forward and Back, Once Again

Dance floor diva and Aussie pop tart, Kylie Minogue is 40 this year. So are a few of my friends, including Tedd, Eddie, and Noël.

Was there something in the water, back in 1967?

I just realized, recently, that these people are the same age as Marty McFly, from the "Back to the Future" films. They were 17-years-old when Marty was seventeen, back in '85, and they will turn 47-years-old just like Marty became when he visited his future self, in the year 2015.

I am endlessly fascinated by the "Back to the Future" trilogy, especially the first two installments. After seeing the first film, I wished that I could also go back in time, just like Marty, to befriend my father as a young man in order to improve his self-esteem and thus, ensure a better present for both myself and him. I'm sure many others felt the same way, which may partially explain the original and enduring popularity of the trilogy.

Of course, sometimes it's useless to ponder 'what if?' But what if I had been able to visit my father when he was a teenager and help him develop more self-confidence? What if I had been able to help him have more courage to pursue his dreams and achieve his goals? Would that have resulted in a more financially stable life for him and our family, thirty years later? Would my father have been less stressed out when I was an adolescent? Would our family have been more emotionally stable and less dysfunctional?

Like I said, some things are useless to ponder, maybe even pointless. But it doesn't stop me from thinking about it. The point of the films, or my interpretation, at least, is that you can't--or shouldn't--change the past. Even if we were given a chance to physically alter history, there are consequences, usually too risky. But that's only half of the point. The film's optimistic message is that your future is whatever you want it to be, whether you're seventeen or forty-seven or somewhere in between.

Instead of wishing that we could go back in time to change things for the better, we should focus on the present and realize that today is that chance to improve our lives. What do you want to do today, specifically, to end up where and how you want to be a year from now? How about a decade from now? Thirty years from now?!

I must confess to being the kind of person who tends to linger in his own reminiscing, to the point of languishing, even. I am fortunate to have a lot of good memories, despite wanting often to comfort my inner child and past self/selves. It is difficult to reverse the process and reach out to my Future Self. I try to reach out to him and have him comfort my present self, too. I need him to help me make smart choices and decisions today so that I can eventually end up where he is, which I hope is a great place. It is an effective way for me to choose to live positively, optimistically, and with purpose.

Who am I, five years from now, when I turn 47? Who am I when I'm 60-years-old, and when I'm 77-years-old, like Marty's parents in the year 2015? Future Self seems vague and fuzzy in my mind's eye, sometimes, but I try to run to him with courage and eagerness. The important thing to remember is that we are given a second chance, on a daily basis, to have some say in who we become and how our lives turn out.

Both Marty and his father, George McFly, said, "You can accomplish anything, if you just put your mind to it."

And I certainly hope I live long enough to meet/become Future Self.


Sunshine said...

Wow, I thought I was the only person who went way past the entertainment into the utterly profound time travel "what ifs". I love BTTF and watch the trilogy as often as possible on DVD. My kids enjoy it too, even though so many things are "dated", they really are fun and incredibly wholesome movies, so I like to watch with the kiddos.

Quin Browne said...

you are becoming a more intense version of what you already were...

talented, funny, a recorder of life, someone i keep saying i am fortunate to have in my life...

i can see us at the prom in 20 years.

you are SO taking me to the pulitzers party.

Prince Gomolvilas said...

You picked the wrong inspiring quote. It should be: "Hey you...get your damn hands off her!"

thelastnoel said...

You are truly a child of the 80's when you reference Back to the Future. Aaaaaah. YOuth.

Constant Drama said...

Hmmm......1985? Okay yeah....this is the point where I will admit that yes, I have seen the movie. And no, I have never pay as much attention to it as you did.

The only thing I could rmrb is this scene where Marty's wife put in a tiny pizza into the oven and it came out HUGE. That scene rocked my world coz I wanted THAT whichever pizza I'm eating to do that. I still do actually. That scene was seriously coooool.

Other than that, I cant rmbr. I have to rewatch it now.

Peter Varvel said...

Sunshine, remember how OLD movies from the fifties and sixties seemed to us while we were growing up? That's how old the BTTF films are to kids these days, I imagine.

Q, you are my favorite beard to take to any awards ceremony--now, in the past, and in the future!

PG, "Do you really think I oughtta swear?"

N, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins are about as far back as I go, childhood-wise.

CD, you are cracking me up! I LOVE that scene: "Hydrate level 4, please," LOL!