Good morning trailer aficionados! It is time once again for one of my digressions that have less to do with trailers than with me. Hold on. This will just take a second.
I was talking to my therapist the other day (at $3 a minute) about feeling puny and inconsequential, at times. This is hardly new for anyone deep into the second stanza of life, so you’ll likely not find originality here. People at this age often look back and wonder “Did I make a mark?”. I know I do. But this question is especially troubling for those who have spent the better part of their adult lives drinking. You see, while operating under the spell of any substance (and let’s face it. That includes before, during and after use), we are not ourselves. Speaking just for me, many of my decisions and actions were informed, influenced and, even, driven by alcohol. Tom was sometimes just along for the ride. So much of my life was delegated to the power and influence of alcohol that there are times when I look back at my life and wonder if it was really mine. You may recall in an earlier post my reference to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. After the essentials ( food, water, air) of life are taken care of and the luxuries of love and human connection are established, there remains the elusive concept of “self actualization”. This, I suppose, represents the crowning achievement of a life fully lived and speaks to the concept of legacy.
I would posit that it is nearly impossible to fully realizes one’s life potential when so much is handed over to a substance and I believe that is at the heart of what is troubling me. I did take care of the essentials in my life and managed my share of love and affection, but I have fallen short of fully self-actualizing. I have not, thus far, squeezed every drop from my authentic self and and created something uniquely my own (well, other than my awesome kids in which I had a hand). OK, before you vomit hear me out.
Some of you may recall a lovely movie from the beginning of this century called Life as a House, a film that slipped under most people’s radar. Without giving too much away, it concerned a man (Kevin Kline in great form) who fell short as a father, husband and employee but who attempted and, I think, achieved redemption by rebuilding his home. He did so not from his blueprints but from his vision and it became uniquely his own. While the movie was a bit melodramatic, it successfully tore at my heart and has reverberated for me ever since. I didn’t quite know why until now.
Sparta is my House and as corny as it may sound my $3 friend believes that, short of my sobriety, it is the most important thing I can work on right now. Who knew?
If you think such a movie might apply to you, watch the trailer (sorry, couldn’t resist).