Bonus Material

I watched an interview with George Lucas on TV this evening. He spoke about how he had been in a terrible car wreck during his high school years and, in that accident, he was ejected from his vehicle. Up to that point, he had wanted to be a race car driver, but the near-fatal accident ultimately sent him in a different direction in life.

Realizing that he should have died, he spoke about how he felt from that moment on as if he was operating on extra credit; he developed a, “I can do what I want to do” fire in his belly, because he said that his life suddenly had new perspective. He’s not afraid of dying; he wants to just go for it. He feels like what he’s getting is bonus material, having survived an accident that most wouldn’t have.

He also spoke about passion, saying that someone asked him how you know what yours is. His answer was, “When you sit down at 7am and you do something, then you get up to get something to eat because you’re hungry and you realize it’s 7pm, that’s when you know.”

I remember once — maybe about six years ago — I was taking an online writing class. The focus was on screenplay development, and while I was having a hard time with the online format of the course, I plopped down in front of the computer one afternoon around 4pm and ended up writing until 5am the next morning. While I periodically took note of the time during those 13 hours, since I’d go to fetch a cup of coffee every now and again, the speed at which the night passed was astounding. For me, that’s when my passion was reiterated to me. I knew it was always there — it had just been shelved for a while.

Thinking about Lucas’ idea of extra credit and bonus material, I thought for a few minutes about whether I’ve had one of those in my life. I came to the conclusion that I think there could actually be a handful. It’s hard to say how many more situations have turned out for the better when they could’ve gone in a more negative direction just as easily as the wind shifts. I think back to some specific near misses, and after seeing tonight’s interview I’m grateful for them in a new way.

I am grateful for some of my darkest moments because they have their own way of spotlighting the positive.

I am thankful for my lowest of lows because, interestingly, they add depth to the highs that we experience.

And I am at peace with what I perceive as my burdens that could potentially be deal-breakers to others because I know they’ve given me new perspective in my own life, thus giving way for me to create my own bonus material.

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