Wednesday, January 27

I Miss My Mummy

Sometimes, a little boy just needs his mummy. Even though that little boy is 43 years old, mum still knows best, and every once in a while it's nice to go around to mum's house and soak the benefit of her worldly knowledge, advice and reassurance.

Where is this sentimentality coming from tonight?

This evening I had the pleasure of presenting a few samples of my work at the Orange County Multimedia Association Digital Video SIG. I was quite happy to be asked to do this, as I had been attending these meetings for many years and had wanted to present for a long time. One of the leaders and hosts of the group saw some work on my website and was suitably impressed to warrant an invitation to me to share some of my motion graphics tips and techniques with the group.

So tonight I got to stand there for ten minutes showing off four of my best samples of work a a precursor to next months meeting where I will case study and dissect a project in detail. I received some great feedback for how good my work was and some good suggestions for what members would like to see next month.

So you would think one would be feeling quite proud and excited after such an evening. It was not the case for me tonight. The previous presenter was demonstrating some video post production clean-up work they had done for a boy's bar mitzvah recently. The boy was dancing and fooling around, surrounded by friends and family, having a wail of a time apparently. Thirteen years old and the world in front of him.

And although the demonstration was quite interesting, my mind was elsewhere. I was sucked back in time to my own bar mitzvah. I could see it clear as day. Standing in the dining room of my parents house in Kenton. The food on the table. The new portable TV/Radio/Tape player I got as a present sitting on the heavy pine welsh dresser. The rough claret-colored carpet. I remember it like it was yesterday, myself and Mark Jacobs a friend from Glebe School, running down the street, me falling and scuffing the knee of my Sunday best trousers.

I remember this day more clearly than many others, more clearly than I have reason to. This day that was almost exactly thirty years ago. This memory plain took the wind out of my sails and glassed up my eyes. Immediately I tweeted this:

Where was that little boy now. I hardly knew. The little boy from 1980 had big plans, big dreams and the world in front of him. Thirty years later the little boy is tired and lost, wondering where life went. What happened to the big dreams. This kind of reaction was not an isolated incident, I've had a number of these anxiety-inducing reminiscences lately. I caught a glance at a photo of The Sprite I carry in my wallet, from when he was two years old. I saw that picture and it took my breath away. He is now five and time is flying by so uncontrollably quickly. It really hit home when the family went to watch Pixar's UP. The opening montage flashes back over a man's long life, tugging at the emotions, and asking the question "what have you done with your life".

I've wondered if this is what a mid-life crisis feels like, or if its just the result of an unpleasant work atmosphere, an uncreative and unrewarding job or lack of personal success when stacked up next to my peers. Either way, these moments of reflection have gotten my heart racing, my chest tightening and my head feeing as though the walls are closing in with nowhere to turn. I keep waiting for this feeling to pass, for a return to energy and happiness. With nights like tonight where I should be on cloud nine, instead I'm stuck in the doldrums of emotional instability, and a return to normality seems far off.

If only I could just go around to my mum's house, like I used to when I was younger. She'd make a cup of tea and talk some sense into me and explain how things are good and positive. Too bad mum's house is on the other side of the world, ten 747-hours from here. Sometimes I question if moving to the States, so far from family and friends was the best idea. I've thought more about returning to the UK lately than any time in the past fifteen years here. Life is good here; we have a nice house, a good life, great weather, jobs. It's just, I miss my mum's tea.


Anonymous said...

adam, from someone whose mum passed away 2 years ago. there's not a day that goes past that i don't think of her. if you can't see her, ring her tell your mumu love her.
your comments touched me.


womaninblack said...

Not quite on the same level, but I stayed in Norwich when London was calling (yes, I know, it's only 120 miles away) and had to accept that staying in the place I loved meant my career stalled in first gear. Occasionally, I wish I'd gone and that I was on a national, more often I'm glad I stayed put.

But you were so brave to leave and your life over the pond is so great in so many ways - I'm sure you made the right decision. Just think about our effing weather.

Maybe one day you'll end up back here for more than a holiday. But in the meantime, a holiday here would be good, surely?

The best thing you can do for your Mum is be as happy as you can be, because that's what she'll want for you. And the boy you used to be is still there, he's just not drinking proper tea or getting enough of our good old British sarcasm.

Keep the faith, as my straggle-haired once-heroes The Mission would wail.