Updated: May 5, 2019
Everyday I struggle to decide who I am, who I want to be tomorrow and all too often, who I was in the past. I've said before how much I value random moments of sudden insight that often seem to come from the most random and unexpected places. If you've never read The Hobbit, I highly recommend it. If you've never seen the movies, don't bother. The movies spend too much time on the narrative and not enough on the amazing character that is Bilbo Baggins who finds out who he is after adventuring on an unexpected journey. Nevertheless, I watched the movie half heartedly the other night and happened upon a thought that, combined with too much time to think on an 8 hour drive to Chicago, has created a new theme for this season of my life. Im calling it Fall Forward. Bear with me for a second.
First, we need to talk about the quick and seemingly insignificant scene in The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey movie where Thrane (hero archetype who needs the wisdom and moral assistance of the wise & mysterious old man archetype to complete his task) asks Gandalf (the wise & mysterious old man archetype formerly portrayed by characters such as Merlin, Dumbledore and Yoda) where he has been. Gandalf replies with a response only all too befitting of the wise old wizard whom I love so much.
Don't just take my word for it. Watch the video for the full dramatic effect! I'll spare you the whole movie.
"To look ahead," replied Gandalf to Thrane. "And what brought you back?" asked Thrane to Gandalf who, after just saving their asses from trolls simply says, "Looking behind."
I can be very nerdy at times and this is one of those times. So much was said in just a few words and it's all too relevant to me at this point in life right now. I can't help but think that someone else out there could use this same bit of insight so let's take a deeper look.
If you follow me closely, you know that I have been in a sort of slump across the past year in terms of figuring out who I want to be and where I want to live all while juggling the immense burden of student debt. In addition to this, I've also spent a lot of time thinking about who I was in years passed. It's pretty much a classic identity crisis. We all have them right?
In these times of hardship and struggle, I look back nostalgically at my life and wish for "the good old days." I think about the times I had with friends who have moved on and cities I've lived in that are no longer the same. In a way, I think that I look back in hopes that they could be the way I remember them again and somehow, if I go back to that place or I re-gather those people, everything will magically come together in my life and I will be happy. I will be that person again. I stupidly tried to do this with not only my friends, a job, and former city but also a relationship. It doesn't work unless you want to be let down by someone you care about and worse off than you were before. It's like Gatsby hopelessly chasing Daisy Buchanan after years of life, marriage and memories since they first met. Bruh, she just ain't gonna grow up for you and be who you want her to be. Ya gotta move on!
With that being said, Gandalf tells us how our small and stupid problems of today (trolls) can cause us to get lost in pointless battles and almost killed, instead of focusing on our overall adventure that lies ahead. The magic is that he did that in 5 words and I'm already over 600. That's why he's a wizard and I'm an amateur.
I suppose this is why I cherish characters like Gandalf, Gatsby, and Bilbo. They're flawed but they tell us or show us how to move on and do what we want to do. So because it's now Fall, the time when the craziness and sunshine of the summer comes to an end to give way to sweater weather, pumpkins and an ever longer Christmas season, I am encouraging myself to Fall Forward. I'm still in a state of disfunction in life. I know and accept that. The point is that I am focusing solely on the future, the light at the end of the tunnel instead of the green light on the dock, so that I can attempt to make my way out. No one said that you have to wade gracefully through the crap that happens to you in life. Put the past in the past and just let yourself fall. Fall forward!