Nothing ruins a good action movie like the main character drifting off into some daydream sequence, away in some peaceful place with his family……
When I watched "The Gladiator" with Russell Crow years ago, I was in awe. That’s the kind of movie that makes you want to be noble, to do the right thing, and in some weird way learn how to fight with a sword. Eventually reality sets in the next time you get a paper cut and are tempted to cry about it…but I digress.
The only part I didn’t like about that movie is that Maximus, the big tough Roman Army General turned rebel gladiator, kept having this re-occurring dream sequence where he’d be walking through a field towards his family. For a long time I just though that the director had included that part of the movie to be artistic, to give the main character some depth. And I thought it was a waste.
I wanted to see action! I wanted to see Maximus take control of the army, to fight some more battles. To restore the glory of Rome. And to give my my money’s worth for the ticket I bought to live vicariously through this movie as an ancient superhero.
Alas, it was not to be. Maximus dies, and floats away through the grass to his family. But now, at the young old age of 31, with a life that seems more cluttered than the office I sit in, with too few hours in the day to have both a job and hobbies, I finally understand why the gladiator daydreamed.
At a certain point in your life, you long for the action, for the glory. You have a point to prove, and you’ll do anything to prove it. To be peaceful is to be boring. To be resting is to be wasting time. So you go out and pack your life full of the things you think you need to do, only to find that they high they bring is only temporary. It’s never enough, no victory is good enough.
So one day you stop and look around at your life and think "What am I doing?" "Where is this going to end?". You take a look around at all the unnecessary things in your life that you’ve been chasing, and all of a sudden you feel like one of those horses pulling a chariot, and the stress of being driven around the ring of life has left you with a tired mind, and an empty soul.
For a while you don’t know what to do. So you cry a little, get anxious a little, maybe get angry a little. But at the end of the day, you’ve got a mess to clean up, and there’s no use getting angry about it, it won’t make it disappear any faster. So you begin to clean up the cluttered mess that is your life.
At some point you begin to get a vision of a place you want to get to. A peaceful place with only the essentials. Free to take an evening with your wife to go down to the park without feeling like you’re leaving the world without a savior. You imagine this place, and then the reality of your situation settles back in.
But you know where you want to be.