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.