There I was on a Saturday night, watching one of my all-time favourite movies, The Mummy (1999).
The flick is over 10 years old now, but the special FX and dialogue still suck me in. The pacing of the film is particularly good; Stephen Sommers wrote and directed it, but unfortunately did not manage to revive this talent for the sequel. I haven’t seen the third Mummy movie, which stars Jet Li and is reportedly abysmal. The Mummy spawned an awesomely cheesy flick, The Scorpion King (2002), which stars the awesomely cheesy Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Anyway, watching The Mummy made me think of the choices I’ve made over the years (now that I have so many years to look back upon…). One of my children is named after a lead character in the movie; not wholly, but it did nudge the name over the line.
At the time I first watched this movie, back when I was 29, these things were true:
a) I had no intention of having children – vocally so,
b) S. and I had been together almost ten years,
c) My father was still alive (though diagnosed with prostate cancer), and so was my close friend who later committed suicide,
d) I had just finished my PhD, and
e) I had no desire to leave Queensland.
a) Married, with two kids,
b) S. and I have been together about twenty years,
c) My dad’s gone and so has my friend – both events’ consequences are ongoing,
d) I’ve had two back-to-back fellowships, and have now moved sideways from academia into an administrative senior advisor job, and
e) we’re all living in Melbourne (and I have no intention of moving anywhere else for a long, long time).
Add to that a long (probably necessary but tedious) time when I was anti-marriage and dismissive of co-dependencies…and I think I’ve shifted perspectives on life and living rather drastically over the last decade. I’ve let go of the opinion that one must have unshifting beliefs and values to be admirable (yes, that was me back in my undergrad days – stand by your ideology or else…). In fact, I’ve come to believe the opposite. It’s a cliched realisation but one I value nonetheless: the people I most admire are those who have considered + complex opinions, see the grey in situations, act on compassion, and actively work to better a flawed world. I find myself surrounded these days by fantastic thinkers and committed activists. I often envy them their clarity of purpose, even though I know that they would deny that they possess this. In some ways, working as an academic has muddied my ability to engage more broadly with issues; too much focus + gathered expertise.
The next 6 months or so will be an interesting time for me, cutting loose from academia, and re-forming the way I encounter current affairs/cultural issues.