Long, Strange Trip

Did you ever read The Count of Monte Cristo?  I always thought it funny how much the lives of all of the characters had changed over the years.  When we are introduced to them at the beginning of the book they are relatively poor people living in a small, out of the way town.  When we meet them again many years later they are living the high life in Paris.  Can anyone really make those great changes in life?

I recently talked to a friend I hadn’t seen in many years.  I only received a snapshot of her life over the years, but it was enough to tell me that the course of her life wasn’t what I expected from when I knew her.

Thinking back to others I knew from my high school and college days, there are many who took a very predictable path, but there are a few who’s journey was totally unexpected.  Some ended up much better off, some not as well off and some just different.

To which category do I belong, the predictable or the unexpected?  And if my life has been unexpected, has it turned out for the better or for the worse?

It is odd to look back and see the crazy turns and twists.  Most of them were not planned.  Some were long planned.  Often I drifted with the current of time, other times I struggled and worked to change course.

I know people who still look at a time in the past as their “glory days”.  You know the type – the captain of the football (or basketball or the…) team that lived their entire lives 10 miles from where they grew up and had completely mundane jobs.  Or those who spent time in the military right after high school who seem to constantly relive those four years.  The one time when they did something that they thought mattered.

And then I know people who think that their best years are still ahead.  They have not reached those “glory days”, even if they are now retired from their conventional jobs.

I’m part of that latter group.  Although I spend more time looking forward to the end of my career than I do in advancing that career, I do think the best days are in the future.

So what is all of this about?  Why am I doing one of my random rambles?

I sometimes think about the characters in my stories and books.  Where are they int heir lives?  What has been their journey?  Did the have great potentiate, yet floated through life without achievment? Did they start out as a nobody yet turned out wealthy and influential?  Did they follow the predictable course?  Was their path through life full of twists and turns?  Did failures lead to later successes or did successes lead to failures?  Or perhaps there were few ups and downs, they just drifted.  As I put their lives on paper, I guess the big question is, where are they in their long, strange trip called life?

 

14 thoughts on “Long, Strange Trip

    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Of course my little write up was being very simplistic – I wasn’t thinking of things like illness or accidents, though honestly, some of the people I know who ended up in very different places than expected may have taken a different path because of mental illness. That is something that to people on the outside is invisible. Being content is very important. I’d rather be content with far less than I expected than striving for even more when I already had mine. Often the more people have, the less content they are with it…

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          I’m glad the meds are working for you and that you can enjoy the little things. That’s important. Our society does such an awful job with mental illness. I have a sister who is having a rough time of it right now. It is very hard to help her. (She is NOT one of the people I was thinking about when I wrote this post). There are brick walls around every corner. But life changes aren’t just the people who have it, but the people who care for them as well.

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          1. BeckiesMentalMess.wordpress.com

            Oh, naturally (most people) care bout the ones that suffer with a mental illness/disorders. However, in some cases it’s very difficult for people that do care to fully understand the seriousness of what is happening to the one that’s being affected.
            Our society has done nothing except exploit and stigmatize mental illness. Not everyone with a mental illness/disorder are violent killers. It’s such a shame to see society labeling other’s that way.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      Life can be very unpredictable. We never know just where we will end up. But a lot of people do crave the consistent. They are more comfortable knowing where they are and where they are going. From the viewpoint of a writer of fiction, it is interesting to see how it interacts – those who crave the same-old-same-old yet are on a roller coaster compared to those who crave constant change but are in a rut….

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      The paths of life and how people got to where they are is fascinating. But then, as with my friend, it is also fascinating to see the start and “end points” (her life is far from over, so not really the “end point”! Who knows where she’ll go from here?) without knowing anything about the middle journey. That unknown journey, with all the joys and all of the scars, can be equally fascinating.

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