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I was watching Disney's The Kid today. It's one of those movies that never goes on sale, so I finally bought it. It really annoys me that the studio feels the need to include their name in the title. Just ask them; it's not The Kid; it's Disney's The Kid

For those who don't know, it's a story about a 40-year-old man who is rich and successful in his career, but whom everyone thinks is a jerk. Enter this 8-year-old boy who comes out of nowhere and starts annoying him, and who voila turns out to be himself as a child, magically transported through time to (unbeknownst to either of them) help him change his life and re-become the wonderful person he was as a child. Or maybe he was a hallucination. Doesn't matter. Blah, blah, blah, happy ending.
It's a nice movie.

After they both come to the realization that they are the same person, the kid gets disappointed in how he turned out as a grownup.

You're 40 years old, you're not married, you don't fly jets, you don't even have a dog! I grew up to be a loser.
That really hit home.
  • I'm 40 years old. That, in and of itself, isn't a tragedy. Happens to everyone, if they're lucky.
  • I'm not married. I hate that.
  • I don't fly jets. Again, no biggie, but I was an airplane buff as a kid and for awhile dreamed of flying -- no, not 747s, not even the time one of the first ones came to San Jose -- private jets for bigwigs.
  • I don't have a dog. I wish I had a dog. I had three dogs while I was growing up. I would have a dog now, but due to the fact that I live alone, I hate the idea of buying (or even renting) a house, and I wouldn't have a dog in an apartment, even if I lived in one that allowed it, because that's not fair to a dog.
I do often feel like a loser. In the movie, the man decides to change his life. (It helps that, near the end of the movie, he happens to see himself from 30 years hence, and sees that he was in fact successful in it.) I'm about 9 months into my similar journey, minus the benefits of visits from the future and the magic of Hollywood.

One thing I'm doing is seeing a psychotherapist, to find out why I've been pretty unhappy for most of my life, why I am 95% asocial, why I only love people that I have no hope of sharing my entire life with (I don't believe the only part, but it has happened more than once.) We've spent much time talking about things in my childhood, and a couple of books that she's given me pretty much come right out and blame everything bad in a person's life on things that happen in their childhoods. The books usually only talk about severe, horrible things like being beaten by your parents, or having an alcoholic, drug-dealing parent leave when you're ten years old and not seeing them for twenty years, and seem to imply that this has happened to pretty much everyone. Joanna doesn't buy that, nor do I, but she does say that much smaller things that you couldn't necessarily point to and say "That's why I'm screwed up", but which happened over and over again when you were a child, all leave their scars and do affect how you turn out. A bit of this is seen later in the movie, when the man and The Kid are back in The Kid's time, and we see his father tell him that it's his fault that his mother is dying.

The man in the movie does go to a psychiatrist, which is a small part of the story, but it does raise the point of childhood trauma, and this busy, busy, Type A personality man later takes time off from work and just has The Kid tell him anything and everything about his childhood that he doesn't remember. Well, that might be a help. I've remembered many random things during the last several months, sometimes via self-hypnosis, sometimes they just pop up during the day. Unfortunately, none of it seems particularly important, and like the man listening to The Kid, I don't know what I'm looking for.

This year, I have done some things which represent amazing progress; sometimes it's more obvious to my friends than to me, because I have so far to go and it's easy to think more of that than the small start that I've made. I feel I've been backsliding a bit the last few weeks. It is so hard, when I find myself fantasizing about a life with Nolan, to tell myself to put that aside and keep my eye on the ball.

Seeing this movie was a good reminder that my life is far from over, and the life I'm just starting now -- but can't see the ending of in two hours -- may yet be happy and fulfilling. I just have to do it.