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Friday, August 16, 2013

Twice in a Lifetime

Yesterday, I had a bit of a moment.

Everyone has one of those days in which they are forced to sit down and re-evaluate everything that has happened to them over the course of their entire lives and they reflect on what they could have and should have done differently in order to understand how we got to this point in our lives, and where to go from there.

Yesterday was that day for me.

I've been struggling with the fact that I'm essentially at a point in my life where it seems as though I cannot grow any more in both the personal and professional aspects of it, and it scares me to death that there doesn't seem to be any clear-cut solution to fix either one right now. I honestly am at a loss over what I can do to get myself from a good place into an even better place in life right now.

I know that somewhere out there, the answer does lie. I just need a super strength calculator in order to figure it out. Or maybe just a little bit of luck.

If anything though, my little period of reflection that I went through yesterday has told me one thing. I can't continue the way things are right now. I've got to do something about it, even if it means making some incredibly hard decisions along the way about my future in regards to my professional and personal life. I've got to find a way to find that balance again, and to feel self-confident about myself.

But that's the thing. As far as I know, I have the time to be able to do that. I mean, almost nothing is ever guaranteed in this world. Especially not time. The only things that seem to be a guarantee are that we all have to pay taxes (unless you're “Survivor” winner Richard Hatch), and we all end up dead at the end of our journeys.

I know it sounds like a rather bleak and depressing outlook, but it's what inevitably happens. Unless of course, you're one who believes in reincarnation. In that case, just disregard that last fact.

But you know, as bleak and morbid as this is going to sound, have you ever thought about the legacy that you're going to leave behind after you breathe your last breath? What your epitaph will say?

I suppose in some way, I'm currently leaving behind a little piece of myself in cyberspace by doing this blog. Unless something happens like in the television series “Revolution” where all the electricity mysteriously disappears, I would like to think that my blog will remain after I pass away. It's no guarantee, especially if I happen to live to be a hundred. But, knowing that I have something posted for everyone to see gives me some comfort.

Still it enough for me? That's kind of debatable right now. I do wish that I could have done things differently in my life, and sometimes I do feel as though I have regrets. Usually though, I don't dwell on the mistakes of the past, as I cannot do anything to change them. All I can do is make changes now, and hope that somewhere along the road, they will be worth it (even if I'm not sure what to do at this point in my life).

I'm sure I'm not alone. Many of you have been in the same position I am. You have little regrets that you have carried with you for weeks, months, even years, and those regrets have basically shaped the way that your entire life has gone ever since.

If we're lucky, we make peace with those regrets, or even find a way to turn things around. But some of us hold onto those regrets our entire lives until we die. And once we die, there's no way to turn back the clock and fix what has happened...

...or IS there?

Case in point with today's television show feature, the PAX television series “Twice in a Lifetime”. The show only ran for two seasons between August 1999 and May 2001, but in its short run acquired its fans. And, I'm not afraid to admit it. I was a fan of this show.

The best way that I can describe “Twice in a Lifetime” is that it's kind of similar to what might happen if “Touched by an Angel” had a love child with “Quantum Leap”. It's a show about going back in time to right the wrongs of the past...with a twist. In each episode, the star of the show is a person who has already died, are sent to heaven, and are given three days by a judge of the higher order to fix the mistakes that their past selves made and hopefully steer themselves towards a better and brighter future.

Now, here's what's very interesting about this show. Each of the shows had its regular characters that appeared in almost every single episode. The late Al Waxman played Judge Othniel, the judge who handed out the sentences to those poor, unfortunate souls who had a lot of regrets weighing them down.

And helping all of the recently deceased stay on the right path to making all of their future dreams come true were a pair of angels. In season one, the angel was named Smith (Gordie Brown), and in season two, the angel was named Jones (Paul Popowich).

In fact, one of the most interesting things about season two was that Jones appeared to be one of the ones who also appeared to be undergoing a trial in understanding his own regrets (his human self was killed off in season two's first episode). And it appeared as though every single person that Jones helped got him one step closer to understanding his own regrets (though I'm not exactly sure if Jones' story was resolved at the end of the series or not, as I did not see the final episode).

And to be honest with you, I thought that the whole show ended on an abrupt note anyway...though to be fair, Al Waxman did die the very same year that show ended, and once Judge Othniel passed away, I suppose that it would be tough to continue the show without him.

But now, here's the thing about “Twice in a Lifetime”. The characters who appeared in the opening credits of the show weren't exactly the stars of the show. In fact, what's very unusual about this show is the fact that the show relied heavily on its guest stars to drive the show along.

And just who were some of the stars who made appearances on the program? Well, here's a partial list for you, as well as the show/movie you might remember them from.

Corbin Bernsen (L.A. Law)
Kate Jackson (Charlie's Angels)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Donna Mills (Knots Landing)
Julia Duffy (Newhart)
Joe Penny (Riptide)
Lance Kinsey (Police Academy)
Tracey Gold (Growing Pains)
Markie Post (Night Court)
Miko Hughes (Pet Sematary)
Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid)
Reginald VelJohnson (Family Matters)
Jackee Harry (Sister Sister)
Stepfanie Kramer (Hunter)
Ian Ziering (Beverly Hills 90210)
John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Not a bad list of names, isn't it? And each one of those people featured were killed off, given the three-day sentence, and somehow ended up better people at the end of their respective journeys.

So, how do people end up getting such a sentence from Othniel? Well, in every single case, something happens to them that changes the entire course of their entire life, and they end up broken, bitter, and living a life of broken dreams and tons of regrets. And the way that they end up dying is usually a method which can be embarrassing or ironic.

Some of these examples include...

A man whose son went missing from a camping site who is struck by a car after he thinks he sees his son passing by.

A woman who finds out she is dying of lung cancer who ironically enough gets run over by a truck advertising cigarettes.

A woman dies alone in a park after giving up her dream of being a photographer to pursue a life filled with pain, heartbreak, and anger.

A man whose teenage child ends up stuttering and pregnant due to her being neglected by him due to work commitments slips on a book and dies after an epic fight with his boss.

An overbearing father bullies his son to the point that the son resents him, and both end up getting struck with baseballs to the head – where the son ends up dying from his injuries.

A womanizer who woos women and breaks their hearts ends up choking to death.

A former tennis pro sustains injuries which paralyze her. She becomes bitter and dies alone at her home.

And, finally, in what could be considered to be one of the most bizarre deaths to be featured on “Twice in a Lifetime”, a gossip queen who ruins the life of a celebrity ends up dying after accidentally falling in a dumpster!

(Hey, I don't write this stuff, people!)

So, when they go back in time to the period in which their entire lives went sour, they are disguised as someone else who will have the opportunity to get close to their younger selves in hopes that they can make them see the error of their ways. The smoker, for instance, becomes a guidance counselor at the school that her younger self attends. The son who died in the baseball accident becomes a player on the team that his father played on when he was a kid. And in one of the funnier episodes of the series, the womanizer who treated women as objects came back as guessed it...a woman!

Now, usually on the first day and a half, the people end up making novice mistakes, and in a lot of cases, they sometimes end up making the problem a hundred times worse. But it's not until the third day arrives that they end up finding out the solution, and convincing their former selves to make the opposite choices in hopes that their lives will be spared. And in the process, they all learn a little bit about themselves.

Now, I don't want to spoil the endings of all of these shows for you, because I think that most of you should watch them yourselves. But there are little clues that are scattered throughout each show that will point viewers in the right direction. It could be a person that seems like a recurring character at first who ends up being the person who saves them from themselves. Or it could be reigniting an old passion that may seem like a hobby at first.

In the examples I brought up in this blog, do you know how I talked about the episode where the man lost his son in a camping trip? He convinces his younger self to support a new that involves recruiting dogs in the aid of recovering missing persons.

Or, you know the woman who was suffering from cancer? What happens when she reveals a secret that her own mother has been keeping from her? Does this convince her younger self to butt out once and for all?

The woman who ends up giving up her dream of being a photographer finds herself working at the same restaurant as her teenage self. Can she convince her younger self to follow her dream?

The man who dies after spending his whole life being a workoholic is taken back in time to when his daughter was a toddler...and he begins to realize that maybe a career as a stay-at-home dad doesn't sound so terrible after all.

What happens when the baseball playing boy discovers that his own father was being bullied himself by his grandfather? Can he find the courage to break the cycle?

When the paralyzed tennis player goes back to the rehabilitation centre where she ends up meeting her younger, still paralyzed self, can she find the courage to help her accept her disability? A young girl who is also staying at the rehab centre might be the key to the whole thing.

Being a woman certainly hasn't been easy on the womanizer...especially when he realizes that his secretary whom he always ignored might have the charm to keep his younger self on the straight and narrow.

And as for the paparazzi who choked inside a dumpster? Let's just say that the stars have a way of aligning together in her case. In particular, one Hollywood starlet who helps her see that sometimes friendship is more important than gossip.

So, to close off this blog entry, I have a special treat. Here's an EPISODE OF THE SHOW for you all to watch! Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Start working out. That helped me when I was down. I got the body I wanted and was pretty happy. Working out releases endorphins which contribute to wellbeing.