Last Friday, all we had to ski on was manmade.
Not anymore : )
Here’s a spot where I stopped on Styx today at lunchtime:
THIS is why we live here – at least as much as we do.
Last night’s movie was “Family Man” – which qualifies as a Christmas movie because a certain magic happens at Christmas time. (SPOILER ALERT) It’s a sort of “Scrooge” movie, in that the protagonist is visited by a “Christmas ghost” of sorts who forces him to see an alternate-universe “Christmas present”; however, the glimpse of this other world lasts a lot longer than a few hours. In the end, the protagonist has had his world-view changed such that he does something different than he would have done had the event not taken place.
I don’t think it’s a real “Scrooge” because the gentleman in question (Jack, played by Nick Cage) is not a bad guy at all; he is definitely focused on money, but he is also most definitely sharing that wealth with his underlings, none of whom are the least bit downtrodden. He is basically a very successful man who is reasonably happy as he is; the “glimpse”, however, shows him as he might have been, had he married his college sweetheart.
Now, I’m supposed to watch this movie as the man that I am – very happily married, fine family connections, well-adjusted (hey – you shoulda seen me twenty-eight years ago) and having a good life. I think that the movie is supposed to result in a guy like me patting himself on the back and telling himself that it’s a good thing that he didn’t go off and make a whole bunch of money and drive a Ferrarri.
But, at least for this happily-married man, that’s not the actual result. In fact, it’s sort of the opposite.
No, I don’t wish that I was not married to Ethel (who has recanted, at least a bit, that she ever told me to stop calling her Ethel. I think that what she wants is for me to call her Ethel, but for YOU to call her Kim, but I’m not sure. Watch this space) – the idea of not being married to Ethel is a hard sell. If Ethel dumped me, then I would probably just start wandering around looking for a quasi-Ethel, preferably one less inclined to dump.
But it does leave me wondering – why have I done so little with my life?
I am God’s own underachiever. I’ve never done anything very well. Now, that is no doubt in part because I don’t have any talent for anything; I actually flunked the only aptitude test that I ever took. The poor lady had to look me in the eyes and say “Mr Puckett, I’m sorry to have to say this, but you don’t have an aptitude”.
But, still, I’m a reasonably bright human being; if standardized tests mean anything, I’m above average, possibly well above average, in intelligence.And I’m healthy, and not disfigured or disabled in any real way (when I ran a personal-worst half marathon a few years back, I tried to get my doctor to give me a disabled hanger for my car, but no such luck).
But I’ve never really DONE anything.
And it bothers me. That is the simplest component of what is called the “mid-life crisis” – a sudden realization that one hasn’t actually done anything with one’s time on the planet. My own mid-life crisis has been going one for about 15 years; Wikipedia says that it lasts 3-10 years in males. I reckon I’m the exception. I wonder if my mid-life crisis will go on long enough so that IT will have a mid-life crisis; maybe someday my mid-life crisis will go into therapy, sitting on a couch complaining that “I haven’t been able to get him to do anything with his life, and I’m running out of time!” ?
The worst thing is not just the awareness that I haven’t done anything; I think that what bothers me the most is that I’ve never had the gumption to really TRY. About ten years ago, I took on a project that (as was stressed to me ) was very important, and was very large. I completely immersed myself in this project, and executed it very, very well; but in the meantime, I had managed to offend some folks around me in some way, causing some alienation. So even though I got a lot of praise and recognition for the project, I also got some negative feedback; as a result, I became much less motivated to ever work that hard again at anything.
And, as I look back, that project was the exception; I’ve been so “easy does it” and “first things first” in my life that I’ve not done anything hard, and been a dilettante at everything. This might be because I’ve gotten tired of trying really hard to be good at something, and always coming up “just above average” – that whole lack of talent thing again.
But I suspect that what’s really held me back is just that awareness of a lack of talent; that fear of being no good. As long as I am not exerting myself with great effort, I could always tell myself that the reason that I haven’t done anything is because I”m a dilettante; this has protected me from ever having to face the ugly truth that maybe no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be a success.
In the movie last night, Jack, who was definitely a success, suddenly had to wonder what his success had cost him; but for me, a man who has the love of a good woman and a happy home life, it left me wondering why I had never really tried to be a success.
That’s the kind of thing that will wake up a fellow at night.