Seventh grade was the peak of my Star Wars fandom. That was the year Episode 1: The Phantom Menace came out, and my dad had managed to score sweet midnight-opening tickets (this was a new thing back then) without waiting in line thanks to a brand new theater in town (all my other friends' dads waited in line for hours and they didn't even get to see it until the following day). The event was marked on my calendar for weeks as excitement built for what was the most anticipated movie event of my life, and though many were disappointed by the film, I have to say I wasn't. Seventh grade was the perfect age for pod racing, kung fu-esque lightsaber battles and, of course, Queen Amidala. Even Jar Jar Binks didn't bother me that much. All in all, it was a more-than satisfying opening.
Fast forward over fifteen years later and we find ourselves in a similar air of excitement for Episode 7: The Force Awakens. Though now, fifteen years wiser, I've taught myself to keep my expectations for movies lower, which usually results in better overall enjoyment. Besides, Episodes 1-3 left most of us feeling like we had just been through a bad breakup, as one of my friends poignantly put it. Time heals all wounds though, and here we are, ready for another shot at love...
My unused ticket...
I marked no calendar, tried my best to ignore the rampant barrage of Star Wars merchandising, and did as little as possible to educate myself about the movie. I read no 'making of' articles and watched the trailers days after they came out. I still have very little idea who or what BB8 is. I did however, pre-purchase a ticket, but only because my good friend Robb invited me -- 1AM on Friday the 19th. Not quite opening night, but the crowds of light saber-weilding fans would have bugged me anyway.
Despite my best efforts to remain a skeptical old grump of a fan though, every time I saw a trailer I couldn't help but get a little bit excited. And so as opening night approached, I did in fact look forward to watching the force awaken at a theater near me.
But you know what? I missed it. I wasn't late or anything, missing the epic "BAA-ba-da-daah!" at the beginning that I'm sure thousands cheered for all over the world. I just plain missed it. Would you like to know why? Because this happened to me:
Our second daughter was born the day before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened up (though they had those bogus "pre-screenings," so I'm not sure when it really actually opened), and so I forfeited my ticket to sit in a hospital and help take care of my injured wife and wailing daughter. Of course it was the right decision and that's not my point -- I'm just feeling a little sad that I'm one step behind half of the Western world and so I'm writing about it to process things. Thanks for reading my self-indulgence.
Some time along the second night of my daughter's existence in the open world, I was in and out of sleep and trying to think of some reason to write this blog post besides myself. It was then that I started thinking about the very apparent differences between my two daughters, even at such a young age. The oldest stayed up the first several nights crying...a lot. The youngest sleeps...a lot. Their eating habits are different already, the way their faces look, their eyes, how much hair they have. I can already tell that they will be unique individuals in many ways.
It's kind of like Episode 1 and Episode 7, right? (There it is.) Different both in my approach and, hopefully, quality (although I've already stated that I still enjoy the former). And so there's my big connection -- similar events in life with different approaches can still have the same result -- enjoyment, fun, hardship, love. It's all part of the adventure of life, in this galaxy and one far, far away.