I’m going to let my geek flag fly.
I watched a rerun of Star Trek: The Next Generation that I haven’t seen since I was 13.
I actually watched all 178 episodes back in the day, but this is the one that really stuck out in my mind and had an impact on me.
In this episode it starts with Captain Jean-Luc Picard getting shot with some energy blast and his artificial heart stops working and hes dying on the table.
“Q”, an omnipotent being decides to Scrooge it up by offering Picard a chance to clean up old regrets of his youth.
Picard thinks about how much of an arrogant asswipe he was sometimes and recalls he got an artificial heart because he got pissed at a bar fight and as a result was stabbed right through the heart.
Young Picard didn’t take crap from anyone, risks be damned.
So Q, snaps Picard back into his youth. He can bend time and space and assures the only changes to time and history will be Picard himself so fix what he needs to fix.
Picard proceeds to talk his friends out of doing some risky things and alienates them by playing it safe which is highly out of character but he makes out without getting stabbed.
Suddenly Q brings Picard to present day….
Except… wait a second.
He finds himself a Junior grade engineer…. Mr. Picard isn’t who he is… he’s CAPTAIN Picard. He is pissed and tracks Q down and Q explains that the Picard that played it safe always took the reasonable choice.
He did’t take risks. He never had a brush with death that showed him the frailty of life and that you have to live every moment like it was your last… to make life count… he didn’t step up and take over for a dead captain during his career on some mission and he set lofty goals and didn’t take risks like the original brash and arrogant Picard made a habit of doing, and so he became a Junior Grade Engineer. Q said he should be happy he has a real heart and a second chance at life.
Picard BURSTs at this point and shouts “SEND ME BACK, I WOULD RATHER DIE THE MAN I WAS THEN LIVE OUT MY DAYS AS THE MAN I JUST SAW!!!!”
And so he does get sent back and he wakes up in the infirmary laughing quietly, much to the confusion of the doctor and ship mates, back to the man he was, the Captain of the lead Starship of the Fleet.
When he comes to, he tells his first officer “I wanted to go back and clean up loose threads in my questionable past, but when I pulled on them, the whole tapestry of my life came undone….”
So why did this episode have such in impact on me? Well, I’m a sucker for messages about letting your freak flag or geek flag fly, following your dreams and fueling your potential.
Don’t regret the things you do or the things that happen to you. Even the near death ones, they all teach you something and lead you somewhere IF YOU LET IT and without those experiences those seemingly bad choices that people beat themselves up about, you wouldn’t be who you are. Not everyone feels like this, but I think putting yourself in box of being average and ordinary is the cruelest living death people can push on themselves. Always push your limits and do something that scares you every day. If you’re not, you’re not really living.
And the next time someone tells you to “be more realistic” or that your “head is in the clouds” or “you need to settle down and take less risks”, you know what to tell em!