A couple days ago, I stumbled upon 3 short, Christmas videos from 2008 with my family before we split apart in divorce last year.
I was reorganizing some training videos from my business. I build WordPress websites for people.After they are built, I often build customized tutorial videos to show my clients and their team or employees how to do things in their new site with their custom configuration. The videos are in full screen and in high definition.
After they are built, I often build customized tutorial videos to show my clients and their team or employees how to do things in their new site with their custom configuration. The videos are in full screen and in high definition. I have made the videos like this for years, far before high definition was a standard or an option on YouTube. So in the early days, I paid $10 per month for high definition video hosting from Screencast.com, a side web project from TechSmith the makers of Camtasia and Snagit.
I made videos like this for years, far before high definition was a standard or an option on YouTube. So in the early days, I paid $10 per month for high definition video hosting from Screencast.com, a side web project from TechSmith the makers of Camtasia and Snagit. As my finances and cash flow suffered a setback this summer, I looked for new ways to reduce costs. $10 per month was never a great deal. But I paid $120 per year for ten years now.
That’s $1200 paid for high definition video hosting. I can get this for free through YouTube now. I already put most of my new videos on YouTube, and I have been on YouTube since 2006.
As my finances and cash flow suffered a setback this summer, I looked for new ways to reduce costs. $10 per month was never a great deal, but I have been paing this, $120 per year for ten years now. That’s $1200 paid for high definition video hosting. I can get this for free through YouTube now. I already put most of my new videos on YouTube, and I have been on YouTube since 2006.
The challenge was my 30 GB of videos on Screencast. My legacy for past clients.
I did not want to simply shut down the account and delete the videos. These videos were uploaded over the span of 8 years and at least 4 different computers. I have copies, somewhere.
Instead, I opted to download all of these videos to my current computer and re-upload them into a Private section of my YouTube channel.
This took a couple days of work. It didn’t require much time, I was able to let this run in the background while I did a hundred other things.
I did need to check the status of the videos. Once uploaded, I deleted the local copy of the video from my hard drive.
The very last batch of videos happened to include 3 Christmas videos from 2008. They must have been uploaded by accident or for a lack of a better place to put them at the time. They were not HD. I think they were shot with one of those old flipcams.
I saw them, and proceeded to hit play. I was transported back in time to memories of my children when they were small opening up presents on Christmas day. My family was ‘happily’ whole still.
Last year, their mother and I started a divorce. It will be finalized in October.
Our family was happily whole until about 14 months ago.
Or so I thought back then.
The reality was that my ex-wife had become unhappy. I learned about it 14 months ago. She felt it years earlier and became conscious of it about 2 years ago.
These times are my attempt to put the puzzle pieces together. She has not volunteered actual times or dates. I will never know the whens of the thing.
While wiping away some tears of grief one more time, I had an epiphany relating to time travel and the Donald Trump movement and politics in America.
Doesn’t everyone think about Donald Trump when grieving their lost family?
Can we truly go back?
This was the essay prompt given to me by a college professor whom I fell in love with in 1996. She asked my class to write an essay about the duality of whether it was possible to ‘go back’.
Is it possible to truly go back to somewhere we have been? Not as much in the physical sense, but in the sense that we are different when we go back to anything.
Our cells refresh about every three days. Physically we are not the same people from one moment to the next as we refresh and renew.
Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we change constantly.
Looking back on that Christmas from 2008, I see two things in stark relief. I see our family together. I see the happiness and the joy of a family that loves each other. I loved my wife in that video. She loved me.
This is the lens of my memory. This is the view I have looking back through my feelings and memories of that time. I remember loving her. I remember her telling me that she loved me. I remember that we expressed this love regularly.
I also see a family breaking apart back then. I see the seeds for a faltering relationship. I did not see them then. In fact, I was about 19 months away from the first shot across the bow that raised my awareness that there was a serious problem. I was two wedding anniversaries away from witnessing an online emotional relationship and the mental awareness that I had become codependent.
Part of me would like to go back to a time when our family was whole.
Part of me now knows that the wholeness of that time was a myth.
We were keeping it together while falling apart due to some intrinsic fatal flaws built into our relationship. In 2008 we were successfully keeping a marriage of 15 years running. We had just made an extremely difficult decision to move from our home in Atlanta to find better medical care for my youngest daughter and we had moved because my wife needed the support and help of her parents. I had moved because I recognized that my daughter could get better adolescent care in North Carolina and because I would do anything to give my wife what she needed.
I was codependent already, but unaware of it.
Today, I am aware. Today, I know there is no going back to that relationship. Today, I know that I will always love her, but she is not someone that I can be in a relationship. The person that she was in 2008 is definitely not someone I could be in a relationship with. I can see the demons in her face in the Christmas video. I can see the apathy. I can see the sarcasm. I can hear the shaming comments and the tone that I took for loving banter.
I cannot go back to that beautiful time when we were hole and ignorantly happy.
The choice is not always clear
Can we erase the memories of our lessons learned?
This becomes the question. Can we take what we know now and go back and recreate a past with that new knowledge? Can we recreate a present based on the model of the past when we are wiser, physically different, mentally informed with the knowledge of experience that took us out of that past….
I cannot Make our Marriage “Great Again!”
This is not a political post. This is my connection of an epiphany that spans personal experiences.
During this last week, I also experience a good deal of anger relating to politics and my reaction to politics. There is no way short of 100k words that I could even begin to dive into all of my feelings related to this.
My Christmas video insight did allow me to better understand why the concept of Making America Great Again appealed to so many people.
I could now put myself into the shoes of friends and family and other Americans that had experienced something great in America’s past. I could sincerely connect with their feelings of wanting to get back to a time like that again when they felt life was better for them.
Like the one perspective of my family in 2008, it was great to be whole and in love and together and happy.
Part of me would like to live in a time loop of that period.
To do so, I would need to 1) go back in time and 2) be ignorant of everything I have learned since that time. I’d also be destined to relive the pain of the consequences that came about afterward.
I do not choose this option. I have gained too much from the experience, the lessons, the knowledge. I paid a high price in pain to get where I am.
I have never given birth to a child. I have witnessed it three times. I could never give up my child now to return to a time before that to live something great in that time sans child. The joy and benefits of the child far exceed the price of the pain. Some science even indicates that women biologically forget and let go of the memory of much of that pain. If true, that is a blessing.
The political part of the insight…Can America go back?
For many people, they experienced a great America in their past. For many others, they experienced an America that had flaws and problems that had yet to be exposed, fixed, healed or improved.
Going back to the America of the past is the equivalent of giving up their child that they birthed through significant pain and price.
The United States of today was first birthed in 1776. The America of today was first birthed ten to twenty thousand years ago. America has been birthed and reborn again and again ever since.
We are not the same United States nor America that we were in 1776. We are not the same United States or America that we were in 1860 or in 1866 nor in 1896 after Corporations started to become people.
We are not the same United States that emerged from the crucible of the Great Depression to be cast into the mold of a super power following World War II. We are not the same America nor the same United States that was rebirthed again in the 1960’s when the people who were minorities at that time were given more of the equal rights that they had been promised in 1776 and again after the Civil War.
We are not the same United States that was reborn after witnessing so many young men sent to Vietnam and the voting rights that were given finally to all young people soon after.
We are not the same United States that survived and was reborn during the AIDs crisis nor the fall of the Soviet Union nor during the terrorist attacks of the 90’s and 2001 that led to a decade of new wars.
Today, we are a different America than we were. We cannot forget what we have learned. We cannot give up the child of a nation that we have recently birthed.
We cannot go back in live in a 1950’s America where minorities still had to use separate bathrooms, drinking fountains and much worse.
We cannot go back to a time when women were not allowed to work without sexual harassment or on the job molestation. We cannot go back to child labor realities with children pulled from school to work in mines or in the fields instead.
Watching the Republican Convention last week, I witnessed many people that benefited during those times. Many of them are caucasian.
Soon Caucasians will be the minority in the United States and soon after the margin of that minority will start to become extreme.
There is no path back to an America of the past that includes Caucasians controlling the political process.
There is an (ugly) path to an America where some other minority group controls the political process. To get there, all we have to do is setup the mechanisms by which minorities today are not protected again.
If we roll back to that model, then in the near future, the new majority will have the mechanism and they will have the precedent to respond in kind.
Years ago, I read a book by one of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein. He was a naval intelligence veteran and became a science fiction writer. He wrote a book called Farnham’s Freehold.
This book set in the early 1960’s of the United States tells a tale of racial inequality and then of nuclear annihilation. The one scenario was true and the other could have been. Following the annihilation of the world, the ruling race of people at the time, Caucasians, were replaced as people of African descent around the world became the majority as their continent had not been bombed to the extent of ‘white’ America, Europe and the Soviet Union.
In this fiction tale, the African descendants create a new system of racism controlling the few whites that remained and keeping them as slaves, justifying this in part on their knowledge that the deficient whites had wiped out most of the planet with their stupidity.
In the second half of the book, the scenarios of racial discrimination were flipped.
As we look to where we want to go with our current America, we have to be careful about romanticizing the past. Maybe we need to ask questions like…
- If it was good for you, was it good for others?
- If it was bad for you, would you do it again to let others be happy?
An even trickier question is…
“Knowing what you know now, can you choose to forget it all and be naive again?”
As I write this it is 2016. America is approximately 240 years old. There is a possibility that I may live to see the 300th birthday of America, the original. In reality, it is not the original and has been reborn with almost every generation.
My former marriage lasted for 22-23 years depending on how you count the years.
With the exception of the last of those years, when people asked either of us, we told them positive things about those years. We felt like we had been successful in our marriage. At least that is what we both told people. I know I felt it and thought it. I cannot speak for my ex-wife.
Does time completed, does total time achieved equate to success?
America has completed a lot of time. Some people would view that as a success. Maybe some of those years were good. Some of those years were not good years. We survived and kept learning and adapting and rebirthing our nation. We are not alone.
Many countries and regions do the same. Sometimes the rebirth is peaceful and easy. Sometimes it is violent and dangerous. It can be hard in either scenario. Sometimes the new child adds more and more years to their life span. Sometimes they die and start over completely instead of in part.
Have you ever been reborn?
Do you see similarities in rebirth at a national level?
Do you see similarities at a continental level? A global level?
These are more questions that my epiphany brought to me. There are lots of trends here.
I can feel through my personal experience now how many people including friends and family feel.
I can understand their desire to follow someone that promises them an opportunity to go back to a time when they felt the most ease or success or comfort.
I do not choose that path. I have too many other friends and family that were hurt, disenfranchised, abused, killed and more due to the way that past process worked. I do not choose a path forward that knowingly harms people I love.
I do not write these words to support a different politician. I simply write them to point out that the past is not for me. I see more than one viable option for voters to choose from this fall. Your choice is your own. My choice is my own.
I have not decided whom I will vote for yet. I have eliminated one option from my own list.
I trust you and your decisions to find your path forward for yourself and for your family and for the people and friends you love.