"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."
This is a classic line from one of the greatest movies ever made - Raiders of the Lost Ark. Indiana Jones was a bit of a hero of mine growing up. As a kid, phrases like this made a person sound tough and Indiana Jones epitomized tough.
We all have fictional heroes such as this which is understandable given how easy it is to create the ideal person through fiction. For me, a hero is the kind of man who can always get up after one of those bone-crushing punches which, by the way, are probably the best audio clips ever put to film. PUNCH
Heroes like Indiana Jones are fun to have, especially as a kid, but as we grow we need to have more real life heroes; people with flaws who experience consequences, people who know pain and the value of perseverance, and people who have risked more than a movie character racing into the next unimaginable cliffhanger situation without a second thought.
So where do we find these heroes? Family and friends maybe. A teacher or mentor perhaps. I wonder why is it so hard to hold up our own deeds as an example? Is it because it compromises our humility which is a trait we value in those we admire? No one wants to seem arrogant after all. But then in contrast, is it heroic to learn to accept our limitations? I was always taught to reach for my limits and surpass them if possible.
Failure is a lot of hard work and it seems to contradict the image of the hero and thus complicate matters when celebrating real people. Real people fail. I suppose that is why we seek out heroes in fictional characters like Indiana Jones. We can dream about being that person yet we can also momentarily lose ourselves in a story as we try to escape the trials of our own endeavor. Family and friends and teachers are obviously great people to turn to but their experiences and examples are limited by the confines of their own path.
The bottom line is that there will come a time when fiction is just a distraction and family and friends don't relate. There comes a time when we have to be our own example, like it or not.