Nov 23, 2013

Silly Epiphanies: Blisters as a Metaphor

The Epiphany

If there's one thing Europe taught me, it's that blisters really are a minor problem.


In the past, I had always stopped whatever I was doing, exercise, walking too far in "nice" shoes, and used blisters as an excuse to sit out until they got better.  I think part of me was worried about what would happen if I continued to irritate that skin - Can a blister form on a blister?  Would it eventually get to the point where it permanently damages my skin?

Europe, and my sisters, accepted no such excuses.  We had spent thousands of dollars to travel overseas, and we were going to keep walking and looking at stuff!  And I observed a strange phenomenon.  If you continued to walk (in sensible shoes, mind you), eventually you stopped noticing the pain of the blisters.  And they healed, despite the continued use of my feet.  Of course, new blisters formed under the old ones, and my feet got about as ugly as they've ever been.  But no permanent damage.  They're certainly not crippled, or even permanently ugly.  Nothing an at-home pedicure couldn't fix.

In Europe, blisters were the least of our worries.  Catch a hacking cough?  Sorry, one-of-a-kind hiking trip in Cinque Terre tomorrow; deal with it.  Fall and skin your knee?  We still have to get to the tiny Swiss village at the bottom of this mountain.  Get threatened, attempted pick-pocketing, stolen phone, lost in the Italian countryside?  Well... nothing else to do but deal with it the best you can and continue the journey.

So now, with this in mind, I ignore the blisters.  Sure, my pinkie toe hurts.  But you know what?  I really need to run this week and not just wait for a time when it's convenient.  Because that may never happen.  Things don't necessarily fall into place, and there's not always going to be a time when the stars have aligned perfectly and the world is telling you to do whatever it is that you want to do.  So you have to make it happen instead, and work around the little inconveniences.

Nov 9, 2013

Sequels: Life Continues On After Happy Endings

Sequels are never as good as the first movie.  Everyone knows that.  Yet we continue to go see them, in the hopes that it will somehow be different for this or that sequel.  What is it that makes sequels so bad anyway?  Is it that the story line really isn't as good?  A mere shadow of the first movie without enough originality or spunk to stand on its own?  Or is it that the sequel must invariably prove that the happy ending in the first movie wasn't really an ending at all?

We like our happy endings because they're tidy.  And because we were raised on it.  A plethora of Disney princesses have taught us that the happy ending is the end goal.  You get there and everything else is golden.  Your battles won, the hard work over, and life is easy from there on out.  But the very nature of a sequel inherently disproves this.  If nothing else happens, if there's no future conflict, there's also no movie.

If you think about the nature of life, things never stop happening.  They can't.  We're never going to reach a certain point and say, "This is it.  This is my happy ending.  I'm going to stop doing things and just be happy all the time from now on."  And really, each snippet of our lives where a conflict gets resolved could be another movie, with another conveniently happy and "feel-good" type of ending. 

With that in mind, there are probably some sequels that are worth another viewing.  This time to be watched with a more open mind, accepting that life did not tidily quit after the first movie, and that just maybe some of the continued action is worth seeing.  Of course, some sequels are still terrible.