Ah… the story of Rip Van Winkle… a pretty simple one right?
A hard-working guy that would help anyone except himself, much to the chagrin of his wife and the remainder of his family as his own farm went to shit.
Wanders off into the mountains, runs into some Dutch guys with some good booze and falls asleep for 20 years… rolls back into town big ole beard tattered clothes, rusty rifle… and the town has changed… the styles have changed… no one recognizes him and he… well, he doesn’t recognize anyone either…
What’s the true story here?
It’s a story that you and I see everyday… good ole Rip a hard-working man… however, he’s not working on anything that’s important in his own home… he is in a marriage that is suffering and he isn’t doing anything to improve it… according to the story, his son is dressed like him and acts in a similar manner… which only tells you that as a parent… your child is going to mimic you. Rip’s wife, according to the story, isn’t doing much to bolster his spirits… to top it off, he doesn’t seem to be drenched in self-confidence.
So he wanders off to the mountains they said in the story where he runs into the Dutchmen who are playing 9 Pin (bowling)… and essentially loses 20 years… or… in today’s vernacular, drinks away 20 years worth of time hiding in a bar with people he doesn’t even know, doesn’t even speak their language, but he feels it’s safer than facing his own problems.
20 years go by… and he wakes up… snaps out of the fog… he realizes there is something left in the tank and he gets back to the town… to his friends… to his people… only to find that those he wishes to share his story with have changed… the times have changed… the styles have changed… of course, he hasn’t and when he wakes back up, his wife is gone… and he ends up living with his daughter and son in law on the farm they’re working on, all while he tells his glory stories to anyone who will pass.
Too often you see this exact story playing out… men & women wasting away… breaking out of it at some times… most often too late in life, missing the opportunity to affect and assist with any true change beyond themselves and those they love… left murmuring and sharing their stories to others with what most would call past fantasies.
The difference between when this story took place in 1768 and today is that… if you have lost those 20 years… you still have 20-30 good years ahead of you and you can take your new-found energy, you can take your old stories, your past fantasies, your broken dreams… and today you have the chance to reassemble them into something new… worthy… filled with purpose and instead of finding yourself coasting through to the end of life with a whimper, you have the opportunity to make a difference, to go out with a big bang.