Over lunch this afternoon, I decided to flip on the DVR and watch some of NBC's "Today Show" morning headlines which I record daily and watch occasionally when I have time. There was one interesting story about a man who is only alive due to a small, experimental device called the Heart Mate II Continuous Flow Pump (see MSN video). I watched the enthusiastic man, covered in medical gear that lasts only 10 years, as he practiced his golf swing on a radiantly beautiful day, stopping only to change his external rechargable batteries. They compared it to the Jarvic Heart 7 which kept Seattle dentist Barney Clark alive for 110 days in 1982, calling this new revolutionary model a longer-term destination therapy in contrast. This man, Yvan Provencher, is out of work, broke, and too young for any kind of pension plan, but he considers himself "on the right side of the turf - the game's not over yet."
Here's the kicker about this guy's ticker: although he smiled and praised his doctors, I found myself initially feeling deeply saddened as I watched and listened to his story. Perhaps it is because I recently lost a close family member to heart complications last year (due to a lifetime of smoking). Perhaps too I find myself questioning this experimental solution from some sort of subconscious unresolved religious standpoint (although I do accept and even reach out for science just as much as theology nowadays).
The real lesson in this for me was a look inward at how much I was analyzing this person, this medical solution, this choice - and having to realize that it's too much and too personal to make any kind of judgment. And as always, I'm talking about self-judgment: that is, what I would do if I were in his position, not what I think he should have done. I do that a lot. I observe all kinds of situations and I come up with all kinds of complex responses to what I've noticed and what I believe my choice would be, given the situation myself. A decent amount of friends and family have called it wise - while others suggest it's "thinking too hard." As much as I'd love to consider myself wise, I think I am too over-analytical for my own good. Lesson number one: I need to simplify my life wherever possible. I think about truth and deception, science and theology, history and future outcomes... and all this man thinks about is how he can play another round of golf, and he is content (now, a lesson in love, for me). And why shouldn't he be? After all, we only do have this one, short existence. We should have something to live for - and I should remind myself it doesn't always have to be this straight and narrow.
In fact, it probably shouldn't be. I don't have to dig very deep to remember that it was Robert Frost who said "I took the path less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." It was always one of my favorite quotations during my youth - so why not now? The straight and narrow way, as I've called it, is the shortest displacement between A and B, so all walks of life will travel that way at least once. Everyone at some point in their life listens to their parents advice, follows a teacher's instructions, acknowledges a doctor's recommendation. But the most interesting people have paved their own way at times to find out who they really are. What do I have to bring to a creative collective (the animation industry, or even life in general) if I don't veer off into a forrest of unexplored ideas once in a while? I know I've felt this way before; it has just been a very long time since I've been brave enough to really throw caution to the wind and go for it. Real passion is overdue! Time to kick into high gear (now, a lesson in taking chances, for me).
And although I started this blog knowing I needed some kind of animation progress journal, I also knew I would be using it for other things I'd be learning in the process. These lessons undoubtedly apply to my animation career path - but honestly, the first thing in my mind at the moment is my upcoming marriage, and how complex everything has become. After all, I can say that after 5 years of this special relationship, and almost a whole year of being engaged, and yet another year before the wedding, I'm not head over heels with butterflies in my stomach or sweaty palms. But I know in my heart that love exists here - there is a deep, subconscious level of attachment that can not be severed - a mutual dependency I have never before experienced. It simply is - it's there, without question. And I love that. And, I suppose I'd risk anything to maintain it.
It's difficult to use a principle such as Ockham's Razor when you're considering the matrimony of a 4th Generation Polish Catholic Caucasian Woman with a 1st Generation South Indian Hindu man. Two races, two religions, two cultures - there's nothing simple about all that. Two different ceremonies, two different cities, two different times of year. But inevitably, two ways to celebrate the love of our lifetime together.