Coming up as a youth and a young adult, I wanted to be like my favorite movie characters. My first real and true love was Indiana Jones. I remember going to a used bookstore and buying a few archeology books. I lugged those books around for months. When I tried to read them, I slowly lost interest.
Chuck Norris lead me to Karate class. I can barely walk and chew gum without hurting myself. Obviously, I lost interest in that pursuit. I loved hitmen movies, especially when the bad guy got whacked (that’s how they talk). But I can’t kill a spider without almost throwing up.
Because of movies, I have wanted to be many things, none of which has ever come to pass.
One of my longest running obsessions has been with the CW show, Supernatural. You probably haven’t seen it. It’s a cult classic enjoyed by a few overly obsessed fans. It’s a story of two brothers who hunt and kill the things that go bump in the night. Fourteen years ago, the show started as a monster movie every week. Somewhere the show changed from that, I’m guessing when they figured out it wasn’t getting cancelled. The story continued about the brothers, always has and always will, but the scope of the storyline got bigger. Apocalyptic bigger. The boys have saved the world several times. Watching an older episode, a light bulb went on.
Being an archeologist who wasn’t saving precious antiquities or civilizations did not thrill me. Being Chuck Norris without saving the underdog did not excite me. Killing bad people wasn’t really me period. I adored these characters because they were ordinary people in extraordinary situations. It finally struck me. I had the ordinary person thing but I didn’t have the extraordinary extenuating circumstances.
I realized that my entire expectation about my “epic journey” was that it was my extraordinary circumstance. Then when it didn’t quite live up to those extraordinarily high expectations, I again felt despondent. I was looking for something to give me meaning. I wanted to be Indiana Jones or Lara Croft or Dean Winchester. I was looking for the epic story to happen in my life.
I am not Mensa but I am smart enough to realize that those were all just stories played by actors. But secretly I desired it to all be true somehow. That there were ordinary people out there saving the world. And I wanted to be one of them. No wonder I have struggled my whole life with my sense of self-worth. It’s been based on a fantasy. But today I had a moment of clarity.
Today I was giving a house tour at work and all the positive things in the world collided during that hour of time. I had my act together for a change. More importantly, my group was open to my manic energy. We all ended up enjoying ourselves. After everyone dispersed and I thought about it, I realized that my “bigger picture” involves smaller groups of people. I’m not saving their world but I have the ability to transport them, for a short time, to another place and another time. Together we transcend the daily and mundane. During the 60 minutes we are together, we start as strangers and end as friends. There is a little more positivity in the world.
Of course, it is not always that way. There are times when I could dress up as a rodeo clown and they group would still not notice me. That has happened many times. But for the ones who enjoy it and walk away feeling a little different about life for this snapshot in time, you are my epic journey. It doesn’t have to be life changing to be epic. It just has to do with leaving a small imprint on someone’s soul. I don’t have to fight armies to make a change. Epic can be saving the world from the apocalypse or bringing a little positivity into their lives. I realize now that epic can mean more than one thing and we all have the ability to do epic things.
Life is such a funny thing. Lessons can come from the common and ordinary and then lead us to the extraordinary. Sometimes the extraordinary is hidden from our own sight until we are ready to accept it. Life, itself, is epic. I guess I don’t need to be a superhero after all. Which is actually a good thing, I don’t really have that kind of energy anymore.