“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these things.”
George Washington Carver
“Everyone, no exceptions, feels like they are still 18 and waiting for their world to begin.”
Rod Serling died at age 50.
Today I turned 50. Just like Danny Glover’s character in Lethal Weapon. Speaking of Lethal Weapon, I must have been doing my best in 1987 to look like Riggs when this photo taken when I was 25 on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood.
It’s hard to see in this shot, but this area in front of the Directors Building at Paramount is (was?) a great photo-op on a clear day because the Hollywood sign can be seen in the background. And this blog is a way for me to keep an eye on Hollywood from 1859 miles (and 25 years) away.
When I was in high school I had two goals. I wanted to play major college football and I wanted to see all 50 states before I was 50 years old. Maybe not the most ambitious goals but that’s what they were.
There were some complications to my goals. Though I was an All-Conference wide receiver my senior year of high school I was only 5’8″ 150 and was not an exceptional student. (Not exactly blue chip material.) So I went to community college for a year, took some photography classes. wrote for a small newspaper, got my grades up and walked on to the University of Miami football team where future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Jim Kelley was the starting quarterback.
I walked off half-way through the season with a dislocated shoulder. Mission accomplished with a very small check mark. (If you count playing on the scout team as playing.) I had an operation and shot my first film at Miami with my left arm in a sling and my right hand holding a super 8 mm camera. (Shaky cam before it was hip.)
The complication with seeing all 50 states was when I graduated from high school I had only been to three states—if you count the Atlanta airport. If not, then only Ohio and Florida were checked off my list, giving me 48 to go. But at least I had time, right? And I had the writings (and life stories) of Twain, Hemingway, and Will Rogers and the music of Jimmy Buffett to inspire me on an adventure or two. Long story short, I met my goal six years before turning 50. (Full-sized check mark.)
For a kid who grew up on a dead-end street I’m thankful to have had my share of days in the sun; Sunset sailing in Hawaii, kayaking in Martha’s Vineyard, body surfing The Wedge in Newport Beach, snorkeling in the Keys, Broadway plays, Marti Gras in New Orleans, photographing a solar eclipse in Salzberg, backpacking across Europe, and shooting footage from a sea plane over the Amazon River.
Today has been much simpler, but just as enjoyable, enjoying Main Street and the bike trails in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
And 50 doesn’t feel so old. George Clooney, Aaron Sorkin, and Michael J. Fox just turned 50, President Obama will turn 50 in a few weeks, and Meg Ryan and Eric Stoltz will hit it later in the year.
I still have a lot of goals and one of them is to finally see the best parts of this blog become a book. I’ve spent the past year editing 3 1/2 years of posts down to 65,000 words. A couple filmmaker friends have encouraged me to go the self-publishing route (book & ebook) and to use Kickstarter.com to help get it off the ground. So I’m going to take a good look at that in the next couple of days and welcome any thoughts you have or experience you’ve had in the self-publishing and crowd-source fundraising worlds.
Related post: …and Dark & Stormy Nights
P.S. For my birthday my wife gave me the book Forever Young based on the words of Bob Dylan and the illustrations of Paul Rogers. A great gift idea and it will sit nicely on our coffee table next to the Dr. Seuss book I gave here years ago, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
May God bless you and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
Forever Young/ Bob Dylan