Many years back, filmmaker Spike Jonze made an adaptation of Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are". "Wild Things" is, of course, a beloved children's book, with amazing illustrations that tell the story of Max, a little boy dressed in a wolf costume who is sent to bed without dinner for acting "wild" and misbehaving. We were given several copies of this book by lovely friends and family who were celebrating the birth of our children years ago - and I have read it to them before bed countless times since. I read the book many times as a child - it was a bridge and a door, connecting the world of my childhood to the world of my children's childhood. It was beautiful to experience. I digress, though.
I watched the film version again recently - the first time I saw it was in the movie theaters, along with someone who I cared about very much. We were both on that precipice between youth and adulthood - people often think that happens so much earlier in life, but the weird truth is that it's different for everyone. For me, though, it was later in life than some. I had been through a lot in my young adulthood - some traditional things too a back seat as I tried to navigate my own survival with life as an ESRD patient. But with this film... I went in expecting to see a pretty harmless adaptation of a children's book, and what I got was an amazingly beautiful and esoteric vision that took me, the viewer, on a trip through childhood frivolity, the power of dreams, the realities of growing up, friendship, love and loss. The movie is much deeper than many probably expected. As I recall, it did not fare well at the box office.
But I enjoyed watching it years later - I remember after the film, musing on many aspects of my life at the time but I knew I was ready to take up the mantle of many "grown up" things I had put aside. I wasn't just ready; I embraced them. I welcomed them, and I began to feel a purpose in my life that I had never had before. I spent the ensuing years trying to fulfill them the best I could, and do the best I could for the people in my life. But it was then that I was committed to putting away certain aspects of life and push forward with better goals. I am still chasing those, though the method of their mechanism is very different than I envisioned in October of 2009 - I am still pursuing them. These aims and goals make me feel fulfilled as a human being, and though I don't always succeed every day at them, I still do them and I feel good, even when I fail.