Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah






Thursday, 31 October 2013

My "Perfect" Life - Part 22


I just bought Bobby Orr's book... ORR: MY STORY.

I was going to write about early days of dating my husband but that can wait until next time. I have something else to write about, every bit as romantic. The great thing about blogging is that it can be a sort of 'stream of consciousness' thing where, from one moment to the next, you type what comes to mind, not what you planned to write about the day - or week - before.

Bobby Orr. When I was a kid, "#4 - Bobby Orr" was as popular a chant as any. Northern Ontario was proud of the kid from Parry Sound who'd made good. He was on the Boston Bruins hockey team, my favourite team and the Stanley Cup winners around the (relatively brief) time that hockey mattered to me.

It was 1970. My next door neighbours were mostly boys and the nephews to Pete and Frank Mahovolich - Montreal Canadians players when Montreal won a disproportionate number of Stanley Cups. Now, as blogging is international I'll highlight that the Stanley Cup is the ultimate trophy for hockey, like the World Cup is 'it' for soccer or the Pennant for baseball or the - forgive me I don't know what the ultimate trophy is for cricket, but you get what I mean.

Anyway, my next door neighbours were good friends but we bickered for several years about which hockey team was the best. They usually would win the argument because their favourite team, the team on which their uncles played, was the team that, year by year seemed to win - or get very close to - the cup. But not in 1970. That year, Boston won and I didn't let them forget it.

What makes thinking about it now so romantic? I don't know. Maybe it's that I knew all the players by name. Maybe it's because I liked the big "B" in the middle of an orange and black jersey. Maybe it was then, because I finally won the argument over which was the best team... for that year anyway. At the time, of course I wouldn't have thought any of it romantic. On reflection, I guess what was romantic was that the hype over the good looking Bruins team intrigued me. And that 'my team' won! For me, romance isn't only about dating or marriage. Romance is about idealizing, about intimately and passionately caring about someone or something about which, to your own mind, there is only good. And in that sense, for me, the Boston Bruins was 'it!'

What makes us go crazy over a particular sports team? Or a particular pop singer? Or movie star? What drives us to idolize someone - or something - to the exclusion of all else? And why, after over 40 years, do I discover a hero has written a book and I go and buy it?

Because that which is important in our youth sticks with us forever. And because we all need a sense of romance in our lives; for kids, I suspect it's not so often about a love-interest as about something to be 'in love with'.

Youth is a time to explore the power of our imaginations. It is a time when we begin to see the limitations of our parents and look to other heroes. It is the time when we flex our own muscles to see what we can accomplish, and aspire to heights and depths of significance, either directly, or more commonly, through our heroes.

Youth is about idealism. My "Perfect" Life is not about an ideal life, but about a life which had many perfect aspects but which was highly imperfect because relationships were imperfect. When you have a person (or a team comprised of persons) which you idealize, you are able to fulfill that need to worship, adore, experience romance and there is no threat to your ideal being tainted because there is no interpersonal relationship. Well, at least not 40 years ago, before media became as pervasive as it is now, and celebrity became so easily scrutinized. Today heroes fall, but that was not so common in the past.

Recently, I saw a television interview with Bobby Orr... on the eve of the release of his book.
Bobby Orr is a nice guy. Always has been, always will be. I don't know what makes him tick. Maybe he just is comfortable in his own skin and knows how to live in the present. But in my case, seeing the interview strengthened my appreciation for him and revived good memories about a time and people in my life I loved: my team and my next door neighbours.

In hockey, you have to be ready for anything. And when a play is finished, you can't dwell on it but keep on pushing yourself to help your team. Life - real life - is like that. You have to live in the moment, ready for what is to come, having learned from the past but not living in it - be it a good past moment or bad one - any longer. So, today I seized the opportunity to write, not about my love life but about a love and passion in my childhood, sparked by an interview and the release of a book. That passion had little to do with interpersonal relationship and very much to do with idealized love in the wider sense... which I think, is what romance is all about.

My Son and His Team

4 comments:

Amber Hawkins said...

Great writing and I followed your blog:)

Jeannie said...

I can totally relate to this, Sarah. My brother was a huge Bruins fan too and to me Bobby Orr looks just as youthful as he did 40 years ago! I think you're right-on about our youthful hero worship: those ideals are so important, aren't they? And you're right -- when we were kids, there was none of this "Athlete X sent a racist tweet and is now a pariah" etc. I'm sure our sporting or Hollywood heroes had their serious blemishes but we didn't see that and could live in that state of idealization. And there's a lot of good in that.

Sarah Tun said...

Amber, welcome to the perfectly examined life... or the examined life perfectly... or -- welcome!
May your best memories be in the foreground! And feel free to share any of them.

Sarah Tun said...

Jeannie, we remember our heroes unblemished for that is what a true hero is! And then we grow up and realize our best friends, blemishes and all, are our real heroes (and we theirs) b/c we love them in spite of and because of their shortcomings.
Thanks, as always, for your thoughtful reflections.