Friday, December 4, 2009

Lemon Tree – Curt Johnson

Curtis Johnson - May 26, 1928 - June 9, 2008

I think what I enjoyed the most about “Lemon Tree” was just the raw honesty of a man’s life that Johnson illustrates.

The frustrated complicated relationships, the substance abuse, the emotional abuse and the quest to reinvent oneself.

There were times in my life, and times when I was younger when I wished that I could change who I was. I remember in grade school wishing that I was taller. That my nose wasn’t so big, that I had better skin, that I was more muscular. As an adolescent, I think those wishes and desires are normal.

As an adult, we are placed into positions where we can change who we are. We just need to seize the opportunity. Now, I don’t mean that one should go about changing one’s life or leading one’s life as the main character does in “Lemon Tree”. Change should happen where there is minimal and possibly zero negative impact to others. The character sees flaws in himself, his life and seeks to reinvent himself. He does so through cheating on his wife, and abandoning all that once was his life by relocating to another country.

My idea of change in life should be accomplished through self improvement. Education, health, the expansion of ones awareness.

When I left for Romania, I was asked by someone very close to me if I was running away from something. This person in fact was acting a bit selfishly and attempting to convince me that leaving was a bad move. I fought back against the accusation that I was running (perhaps I was). I felt that I had reached a point in my life that I needed a change to happen. I was 26, and I knew that my immediate future did not lie in Norfolk. I felt that the future for me was out there, someplace in the world. I sought out improvement through volunteering to help others, and in doing so I changed so much that the man that departed Virginia was not the same man that returned.

It took 2 ½ years, and that was plenty enough time. I helped, not hurt others. I improved myself rather than injured myself or others. I grew rather than deteriorated.

Looking back, I feel though that I could have accomplished so much more. I could have not drunk so much. I could have lifted weights and come back a hulk! I could have read every book I wish I could read now.

But, I did what I did, and in the end, I am all the better for it.

Perhaps there will be an opportunity to change my life sometime down the road. In fact, I can do it whenever I feel like it. It just takes discipline and motivation. I can educate myself, I can learn a new language, I can become healthier, I can start writing, I can read more...all of these things can be done without damage to my loved ones.

It just takes responsible moves.

In 3 years I will be 40. There will be plenty of eyes on me to see if I buy a red convertible. Problem is, people know me too well and know that I would be satisfied with a bike.

Score 8 out of 10.

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