This post is only partly about the movie Jack Reacher, and slightly more than that about its sequel.
In time I've refined what I find important in life. Generally, less and less materialistic things. More and more focus on friends and family. This is partly because I have absolutely wonderful friends and family. My grandparents are sharp, witty, loving, caring, generous, and care deeply about my parents and I. My parents are sincere, honest, and so incredibly deeply loving. To the point that I had to learn what most people go through, what "love" is to most. Using instead of giving. It's take me a long time to see and understand. Mostly because most people just haven't had an example their whole lives like I have. If anyone is ever jealous of one thing about me, it should be my parents. Second to them, my friends.
Anyway. I don't watch a whole lot of movies. I will say that I'm quite fond of Tom Cruise films. Most recent movies are either bad remakes or just hopelessly lackluster. Well, I haven't seen a lot of movies say post 2013, but I'm generally shocked when one is good, original, interesting, etc. The most notable one for me, say since 2015, was probably Baby Driver. The Tom Cruise films have always been good, though. Consistently good, not moral-less, but not preachy. He also isn't afraid to look bad, which makes him as an actor seem more approachable. And yes, he's in Scientoloy which is probably completely absurd. But, I have to respect that he has non-SJW, good all around films that actually don't make me cringe.
So I've seen Jack Reacher and tonight I watched the sequel ("Never Go Back"). I wasn't expecting to write about the film when I started watching it. And I really won't here. It just had a very heartwarming display of fatherhood, and not entirely that, but close. If that makes sense, I'd rather not give anyything away in case you haven't seen it.
It did strike a cord in me. For the longest time I did not want to have kids. I think in the past few years that's started to change in me. Going through life having different experiences: "This is what it's like to be... in love, on a cross-state motorcycle ride offroad over the Rockies, have a business, have my heart broken, to break a heart, to succeed, to fail, to own, to travel, etc."
Sometimes having the experience shows you the reality of what it is. Other times, for me, it seems to refine certain things as important. Showing love, romantically, in friendship, in taking care of someone, are probably the most rewarding parts of life. I see this in my Mom as well, how she cares about her family and is there to help them, whatever they're going through. Or her friends in town, showing them new things, supporting them however she can. I can tell, despite the ups and downs of it, that she's genuinely fulfilled. I think of all of my Dad's talents, it's similar for him. You can look at someone and see when they have purpose. The time that is by far the most meaningful, is when they're adding value to someone's life. Generally not material things, status, etc. Genuine care, actually listening to someone without trying to gain in the process. Of course you do find those who will use that trait of yours just for their gain. Enabling them is probably not good for them or you. But those who appreciate it are better off for it, and you are, too. Now many people get sidetracked into thinking that value is in helping others because they, themselves, don't matter. I think that is false. In terms of value, I don't like to see others as notably different. Maybe someone is much more valuable to you than another (your kid vs your neighbor), but there's no point in treating someone like they have no value. So conversely, I think if others have value, you must have value. The worst you'll treat someone else is usually equivalent to the worst you'll treat yourself. If you have a romantic prospect who's really hard on themselves, why would they be any better to you when you're close?
So many tangents. What's on my mind the most is probably the aspect of fatherhood. Something is deeply ingrained in me to protect and provide. I guess most of all, to protect. I don't know if it's cultural, biological, both, or just something else. Being willing to give up your life for someone is probably the greatest act of love. And more so, the more you value your own life.
Though it scares me, I probably would like to be a father some day. Maybe to my own kid, or maybe in some very partial but meaningful role to someone who isn't mine. I don't know. I may never get to this point in life. I can't manage to make a healthy and decent relationship. I feel many things, often either that most American women are terrible, or that I don't even get the time of day. But maybe it isn't their fault, maybe it's mine. Most likely both, to a degree. I'm a bit of an oddball and for poltical reasons, not the best person to be associated with. I'm offensive, often unreasonable, and I have many ideas that are intolerable to most. I do think I am a loving person and I would give my life for those important to me.
So I don't know if I'll ever get to be a dad. I don't know how much value I add to people's lives. I hope I can add a tenth of the value that's been given to me by my parents, grandparents, and friends. I guess it sometimes seems depressing, not knowing if I'll have kids in time for my grandparents to get to know them. I don't know. On the one hand I shouldn't wait on something that's half out of my control. On the other hand, the most valuable things in life are half out of your control, or more. When you're convinced that family is the most important part of life, how do I convince myself to keep spinning the hamster wheel? More money, assets, property, for what? Something that may or may not ever come? On the other hand, no one wants to go for someone without ambition and drive. And yet, in a lot of ways, I already have everything I want. I've come to it almost too quickly. I do still want a property that's not in the desert. I would like to build a house, a machine shop, and make an ample garden. But all of these pursuits seem a lot more empty solo. Enjoyable, but not as much. But if you wait around or settle notably, it's far more bleak. I don't want to raise kids with someone who I don't trust, and for me that burden of trust is probably going up more and more. I think in some ways, you just know, in others, you believe and aren't always certain.
Reader, thanks for making it this far. Go and pursue what's meaningful. Don't waste your money on (generally) stupid things just for the sake of status. The money you make for your family will never be worth as much as your time. It's better to struggle with those you love than live blissfully around those who you can't even tell if they are acquaintances or friends.
Of the things I sell, Fifty Two will never make you happy. SporeStack won't make you happy. My employment won't make you happy. Of the things the rest of the world sells, it probably won't make you happy, either. Some things definitely can add value. A radio to get to know your neighbors better. A vehicle you can trust, but one you can fix. Neither will be for everyone, I just have to admit that some material possessions are good. everide on Youtube once said that the things worth owning are the things that have no vanity attached. The measure being, would you still want something if everyone had what you had? Most of what I own falls under that. Not everything does, admittedly. But there's nothing wrong with utilitarian. Every dollar you spend on your vanity is a dollar less you have to buy you more time with your family. Which will make you happy?
Thank you for reading. Now go and do something important. Call someone you love and tell them you love them. Apologize if you need to. Lose your ego (maybe I need to listen to this one). Don't expect anything back. If you do, it's not exactly love. But if you still do, at least be honest about it.