What's Your Island?

I was reading the Reunion issue of Entertainment Weekly, more specifically the interview with the cast of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  It’s so clear in all the interviews I’ve read with that cast and crew that the filming of those movies was one of the most transformative experiences of their lives. The Lord of the Rings is an epic story, but the experience of capturing it on film was an epic adventure in its own right for the people who were thrown together to make it.

It made me think of the last episode of LOST, and what Christian Shepard said to Jack: “The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people.”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the story of your life. Your life as an epic adventure.  I’ve also been thinking about the specific fellowship, friendship, and community that forms when you’re in the midst of an epic, transformative experience. My friend Mark Dykeman would call this a ka-tet, a group of people tied together by fate.

"tropical beach" courtesy redfloor

This last week, I’ve retold the story of my recent past as a tale of how I got lost, my wanderings at sea, and how I was found.  A tale in three parts, the bare-bones structure of it seems familiar, doesn’t it? It’s a tale as old as Odysseus, and older still.

But the article has gotten me thinking about two things.

First, I’m thinking about what the next epic adventure in my life might be.  I really need to pick up Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, because I think that the idea of editing my life like a story is really timely. (By the way, have you heard about the crowdsourcing campaign that’s getting his previous book, Blue Like Jazz, made into a movie?  That’s another interested story of it’s own.  But I digress.)

I feel that I’m between epics at the moment, as it were, so I may as well start outlining.

The second idea that’s captured my attention at the moment is Your One Big Story.

What happened to Harry Potter after he defeated Voldemort at age 18? Dunno. Don’t care, really.

What happened to Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Miles, Richard and Lapidus after they escaped the Island on the Ajira plane?  Dunno.  Don’t care really.

The point I’m getting at is, if you’re lucky and courageous and heroic, there’ll be at least one huge, transformative, “this was the most important part of my life” story.

I’m wondering if I’ve already had mine, and forgot to pay attention; or if it’s still ahead of me? I’m thinking that the people I hold dearest may be a clue as to what is, so far, the most important part of my life.

What about you?


  1. ·

    yep. read a million miles. It made my friend @Megin fly to Ethiopia. It’s making me as questions. Like you.


  2. ·

    In 2006 I found Fort Minor, a side project by Mike Shinoda, the keyboardist and rapper from Linkin Park. The first song I heard was Remember The Name. I don’t know why but from the moment I heard that I felt like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to. It fueled a period of deep introspection, which led to a period of career turmoil. Finally in 2009 I came out the other side galvanized to follow my culinary passion.

    I put pen to paper and wrote 500 passionate words that won me a scholarship to attend culinary school. Next week I will be starting an internship with a chef whom I admire tremendously. I’m working on lining up another internship for January. I have a friend who started a gourmet food business and I’m working with her to become her chef consultant.

    I know this is the most important part of my life so far. I’m energized in a way I haven’t been since my early software development career. I don’t know what the future holds, I don’t know if I’ll set the world on fire or only be a legend in my own mind. I’m doing what I love, learning aggressively, and pursuing my passion. That’s the important part.

  3. Kat French

    Jon: It’s on the Amazon wishlist. Intriguing stories like your friend’s ensure I’ll get it sooner or later.

    Charles: You’re en medias res, right in the middle of your epic. Facing resistance, but determined to see the adventure through. The internships sound exciting; and probably a better fit than the culinary school ended up being.

    Woot! Go, man, go!


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