Welcome one and all. Glad you could stop by. Hopefully we will keep seeing more of each other here in the weeks, months and maybe even, if all goes according to plan, the years ahead.
Now, before we get started, I should mention that this piece will assume some knowledge of that brilliant animated classic “Toy Story”; so if you haven’t seen the movie (and you really should), go do that now, and I’ll meet you back here in a couple of hours.
OK. Where was I?
As you know, the key storyline in Toy Story revolves around the relationship between Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Now when the film was released back in 1995 I had a bit in common with Buzz as we find him at the beginning of the movie. I was at the peak of my powers, physically and mentally, and it seemed anything was possible. There were no limits to what the future might hold. In my own mind at least, I had the potential to be a fully-fledged Space Ranger.
Fast forward 25 years or so, and the experiences of life, and the disparaging voice of Woody inside my own head, have eventually worn me down. I’ve finally had to admit to myself that my terillium-carbonic alloy is just plastic, and that what I thought was a laser is nothing more than a little light that blinks. So what now? Should I simply resign myself to drinking afternoon tea with Mrs Nesbitt for the rest of my days?
No. The great thing about re-visiting Toy Story is that I’ve realised some of the biggest lessons for life are right there. Even the usually pragmatic Woody had words of encouragement when Buzz finally acknowledged he wasn’t a Space Ranger at all, but just “a stupid little insignificant toy“.
Woody knew full well there’s something even better out there for us than being a Space Ranger in the Universe Protection Unit. And as time has passed now, thankfully, so do I.
Because as I sit here today, contemplating the names written with a loving hand on the sole of my shoe; the names of all those amazing people who care for me, and count on me, who will be there for me no matter what, and I for them, I can honestly say the initial disappointment that I haven’t heard from Star Command in quite a while, indeed ever, has well and truly passed.
Life has meaning, and the universe has purpose, even though I now know I am never going to be the one to save it.
And what’s more, I’ve also come to realise that I don’t have to give up on my dream of flying. OK, so maybe it won’t really be flying. But I honestly believe that if somewhere along the line we can just find the right rocket to strap ourselves to, and a match to light it, it’ll feel like we are.
So whether it means learning a new language, mastering an instrument, travelling to that place you’ve always dreamed of going, volunteering or raising money for a good cause, or just writing a blog, don’t give up on your dream of flying. I now know I haven’t, and it feels great.
And if it turns out that, despite our best efforts, we’re not flying at all, but just falling with style, then that’ll be just fine – won’t it?