In Case I Don't See Ya...
I watched The Truman Show again the other day.
This is one of my favorite movies. I first saw it in Nashua, New Hampshire, after hours at a company meeting. It's my only positive memory of that trip.
I'm the kind of person who will watch a good movie many times over the years. If a movie made me feel good, made me think, moved me, I'll occasionally just pop it in the DVD player when I want something playing on the TV, but everything on is just crap. One wouldn't think that a problem with 160+ channels, but it happens.
Why do I like this movie so much? I think there is a part of me that identifies with Truman a little bit.
Unlike some of my more angst-challenged friends, I think most of life is what you make it. You only have this, and you only have now. Whatever you have done in the past is the past. You only have the future. Sure, you can think of yourself and worry about yourself and protect yourself, but then, when it's all over, it will be over, and you won't have lived the adventure.
I have had bad spells in my life. I've made some mistakes. I've been treated unfairly and unjustly, sometimes in nearly devastating ways.
Yet in the last 7 or 8 years or so, I discovered that the real quest of my life was not to wallow in my tiny, semi-safe world. How can I be content in the artificial boundaries painted for me by people so concerned with preserving themselves and the status quo that they forgot how to explore, how to reach out, how to challenge yourself?
In The Truman Show, Truman Burbank longs to explore. He longs to find the one woman he truly loves, longs to leave Seahaven and burst out of the boundaries that are starting to close in on him. He seeks love and freedom, but not for their own sakes. He seeks the power of self-determination. When he realizes that the world is some sort of put-on he seeks to escape. He faces his greatest fears and sets out to pierce the bubble, the artificial construct that defines his world and is maintained by those fears.
When he learns the truth about his world, he is promised safety, security and prosperity. He can have the Utopia of Seahaven, or the uncertain, dangerous world outside. He can have slavery or freedom.
He chooses freedom. How many of us would choose freedom over security? How many of us choose between the two even today with hardly a second thought? Yeah, it's certainly cogent in today's political climate, but I think of it personally.
Every day I have the choice to be confined by my fears and my preconceived notions, or I can pierce my boundaries, stretch out toward the horizon and test the limits of the world I know.
Sometimes that's as simple as taking a few extra moments for one more hug with my four year old. Sometimes it's calling on that account with whom I have zero chance. Sometimes it's writing that next page, or sending off that manuscript. Sometimes it's saying I'm sorry. Sometimes it's confronting the person who harmed me. Sometimes it's quitting. Sometimes it's trudging on.
Someday it may be putting my life on the line.
On that day I hope I have the courage to reach out for freedom. With the power of self-determination comes the responsibility to live for freedom to the fullest. If I hold back I squander my power.
That, I think, would be a crime.