Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Welcome to the Future

It has been a long time since I've been on this blog. In honor of Back to the Future Day, I wanted to take a minute and express my thoughts on this day, my own life, and--of course--the future.

I remember when I first saw Back to the Future II on home video and first witnessed Marty McFly heading to the far-off mystical date of October 21, 2015. I was just a little kid then, and never thought much about 2015, or where I would be in my own life by that point. In fact, as I grew up a diehard BTTF fan and watched the Trilogy on repeat for hours and hours--even as I spent nearly three years of my life writing a comprehensive guide to the chronology of the series (it's now on sale, go buy it)--I STILL gave very little thought about my own future, particularly what my life would look like on that date.

So, here we are: It's October 21, 2015. It is The Future.

This isn't where I thought I would be on this date, but I don't mean that in a negative light. For the most part, I have a great life. A steady day job, a happy marriage, great kids. Things are pretty great on that front.

But on this date, I'm also dealing with a lot of grief. Not even three months ago I unexpectedly lost one of my dearest friends, Zachary Malcolm to complications following a stroke. We talked a lot about this day, about the famed future as foretold by Back to the Future. We planned to be there together. And he's not here. I'm struggling with that a lot. Especially with this being Halloweentime, which was our time. Our time to revel in gothic Hammer Horror movies and talk about costumes and decorations and that most wonderful night when the monsters come out to play. He's not here, but I still feel him in the October Wind.

This has also been a time of great searching for me, in terms of my writing. Trying to figure out who I am as a writer. Who do I want to be, moving forward?

As I said, I always expected October 21, 2015 to just be a regular old Wednesday, but as it's turned out, this has been a very big day. Doors have been closed in my writing life--at least for the moment--while others are now widening with new possibility. No, I don't have any projects lined up--but that's the beauty of it. For the first time in YEARS, I have a clean slate. I have no stress, no deadlines, no commitments. I've been given an opportunity to enjoy my great life a little bit. To write for me. For fun, for awhile. Some things I hope to publish, others are just for me and my family to enjoy. But I've got that freedom now. I've been doing a lot of soul searching for the last few months--ever since Zach died. I've been lost, guys. And I've prayed that God would show me some direction. Throw me some clue as to what path I'm supposed to be on.

Today, He has. It's all come to a head on this day, of all days, October 21, 2015. For the first time, my future feels unwritten and I'm not scared about that. I'm hopeful, and I'm excited, and I know that God is not through me and that, together, we are not through with this writer's journey. I don't know where it's going to lead next, but that's okay. Where we're going, we don't need roads.

So I'm embracing my future, ready to push through and see what's beyond that time barrier. In the immortal words of Doctor Emmett Lathrop Brown, "Your future is whatever you make of it. So make it a good one."

I intend to.

--Greg Mitchell
October 21, 2015: The Future