Sunday, March 09, 2008

Enlightenment

Most of the time I try not to put too much personal info on my entertainment blogs-- I reserve the really embarrassing stuff for my personal blog. But at the same time this isn't a professional site. It's usually just me, typing away at my keyboard, musing on whatever seems interesting at that particular moment. I have deviated from my original plan over this last year. My personal life threw me some curve-balls and try as I might to avoid them, some of them still whacked me upside the head. Somehow I kept standing (well, most of the time) and I think in part, this little blog helped quite a bit. Let me explain. A little over four months ago I became an orphan. Oh, my parents are still alive, but they removed themselves quite drastically from my life. It wasn't a falling out, it was more that they fell apart and I couldn't, and frankly wouldn't try to piece things back together for them. That may sound cold-hearted but I think in my heart of hearts it was the right thing to do-- for them and me. During all the drama I kept coming back to my blog, mostly late at night when my mind couldn't settle down and I needed something calming and meditative to do. And then abruptly, the drama was over. They left (to Thailand if you were wondering) and all of a sudden I realized that was really and truly on my own. Actually, I have been on my own for a long time but I think as adult children we don't really understand this until we can't pick up the phone and ask mom what to do when our four-year-old son gets kicked out of the gym child-care for picking up another child by the neck and hauling them around the place (true story). By now you're probably wondering what the heck does this have to do with sci-fi? Trust me, I'm getting to that. The first couple of months after my parents left, I'm almost ashamed to admit, I was relieved. Okay, I'm still relieved. My life is quieter and blessedly drama free. But I never realized how much time I filled worrying about my parent's situation. I was often my turns angry, frustrated and sad. I kept trying to think of solutions to their problems and wasted a lot of time and energy on that. And you'd think that now that everything is over and I can finally sit and listen to myself think that I'd be happy. I fully expected that I would be deliriously happy once I didn't have all the extra stress in my life, and I am happier. But now with all the free time I have to just think I've realized that I'm yearning for more. More what? Heck, I don't know. I've spent the last couple of months in kind of a post-traumatic let down. I have been lazier than you can possibly believe; like an 20-year-old college student that thinks getting up at the crack of 10am for a class means you need a 2 hour nap to recoup your energy. My main goal has been to beat Guitar Hero on hard (9 songs so far). And it's been good. But now I'm looking at my life and I'm realizing there's a void. I've been filling it up stuff: good books, guitar hero, naps, hair dye, brownies-- you name it. But my conscience keeps nagging me. It's like this insistent knocking inside my head that says you should be doing something! I've been finding myself drawn to books like Eat, Pray, Love and Finding Your Own North Star, not my normal fare at all! But there is something in me right now that is craving meaning to my life. Maybe it's a looming mid-life crisis; I hope that's not it but hey, it happens to the best of us right? Again, what does this have to do with a sci-fi blog? Aside from my husband and my kids, the one constant in my life for a good long while has been my love of all things fantastic and unexplained. Even as a kid, when life got too heavy to handle, I would retreat into my books. Fantasy has always been my poison of choice when it comes to reading but boy, I love sci-fi on film. I think I was attracted to these genres because I'm always a little too busy inside my own head. I have trouble sleeping because I can never shut my brain down but I can lose myself in a good book or movie. The ones that always stick with me are the ones that ask the same kinds of questions I'm asking myself now: Is there a larger purpose to my life? Does there have to be? Is there a larger purpose to our universe? Does there have to be? Movies like "Star Wars," that might seem so simplistic on the surface, still have mystical- almost religious- elements, like The Force. "The Matrix" is a beautiful fusion of science and religion with Neo as our savior. "Star Trek" is to me an almost literal translation of our quest for understanding the meaning of life. Science fiction and fantasy, are to me, and probably so many other people, a door to enlightenment. I may deviate from time to time and pull a book or two off of the self-help aisle, but nothing makes me happier than when a beloved author offers up a small bit of insight that pulls me away from my conscious self and opens a door in my mind-- I live for those small victories. I know I've meandered a bit (a lot) in this post and I'm probably really reaching when it comes to tying my personal quirks to my choice of entertainment. But I can't help feel that we all do this to some degree. I know women who live for romance books and can't watch "Pride and Prejudice" enough (the original BBC version of course-- I've nearly got it memorized). I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we're drawn to what resonates with us on a gut level. Probably these things will change over time; at least we can hope so. I'd hate to think that what resonated with me at 14 is still relevant now. I had intended to write a post about movies, TV shows and books that focus on enlightenment as a theme but I kind of let my personal digressions lead me along this evening. Sorry if that is a disappointment. But I think I'll reserve that topic as sort of a Part II to this post. For now. I'm going to have some tea and muse some more on self-enlightenment. Or read a book. Whichever.

9 comments:

furiousBall said...

there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to apologise. this was my favorite post of yours that i've read. that's what these fantastic worlds are about, escape and belong. we have to pretend to get away from the real world and you explained that very honestly here. thank you for this!

penelope said...

I was so touched by your comments on the loss of your parents and their insights and involvement in your life. I've posted a highlight or two from your comments on my blog, grownchildren.typepad.com, which is read by parents of adult children. I hope they learn as much from it as I did.

SQT said...

Furious

Thank you. I always fret a little when putting personal stuff on this blog. It seems to make people a little uncomfortable.

Penelope

Thanks. I'm flattered that you'd use my post.

Charles Gramlich said...

I think it's exhausting when a parent's dramas impinge on the children and I've tried very hard not to let this happen with my son. It's just physically and mentally exhausting to do what shouldn't be your job. I'm glad that things have changed to let you feel a little less stressful.

As for finding meaning in life, I've found it, but still the real world often impinges and won't let me free to do what I want. I guess that's just the way it works.

Good luck.

crunchycarpets said...

This is a great site BECAUSE your heart is in it..because you allowed us to get to know you..it has made it all the more fun..and helped us all muse and think about what we read and watch and why etc.

You make it fun.

I am glad you are doing ok with the parent thing....tough I can imagine...but all these things shape and change us and we keep 'evolving' too!

Di Francis said...

Ah . . . trying to raise parents . . . Just out of curiosity, why Thailand?

I've had some of those meaning of life questions too. And here's the thing--it's really all about our connections to each other, to the land, to the world. So this blog answers a lot of that. But I always sort of envy people who know exactly who they are, what they want to be, and feel like they fit into the world perfectly.

Lucky bastards.

Di

louie said...

That's an interesting post. I've found a website that can be pretty handy for overcoming post traumatic stress. Might want to give it a try at http://www.howtorelievestress.org

SolShine7 said...

SQT, I've enjoyed reading your posts since I found this blog and this heart-felt post is definately one of the best. It's what sci-fi and fantasy mean to us that makes it matter the most.

In your search, I suggest you read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, Capitvating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John Eldredge and Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. All three of those books are close to my heart and they have helped me find my way. And lastly, but most importantly, I suggest you read the Bible (The Message Version). It's puts the scripture in everyday language without all those "thees" and "thous".

Thanks for sharing!!!

SQT said...

Crunchy

That means a lot. I like to put my personality in the blog without being to maudlin. I'm glad people don't seem to mind when I am.

Di

Oh boy, where to begin? Short version? My brother lives in Thailand and told my parents how cheap health care and the cost of living are, they thought it would be a good idea to retire there. Since they've never taken care of their health or their finances (they left completely broke after letting their house go into foreclosure and my dad had diabetes and heart disease-- which smoking and drinking aren't helping) they thought Thailand sounded pretty good. Oh, and they owe my brother a ton of money. Six figures worth.

Louie

That's awfully nice of you. I'd like to think I'm not suffering that much.

Solshine

Thank you. I've heard of A Purpose Driven Life but I haven't heard of the others (well, the Bible of course) I'll be sure to look them up.