Okay, I’m going to write a little about Mad Men. I love the show. Lots of people smarter than me have already written lots of smart things about the final episode, and about the entire run of the show, so I’m just going to say that I loved the ending. Sure, even though we knew from the first episode that the whole thing was a man’s search for identity we probably also hoped for something more profound than, “accept who you are.” Or maybe we hoped that the real Dick Whitman was something more than a guy who makes advertising.
Because I can’t be the only person who has lived in fear of finding out my true self is a shallow jerk. Who wants to accept that?
In the late 70s I went to a hippie-dippie college called The New School (it was a branch of Dawson College in Montreal) and the goal there was to become “self-actualized.” We started the day with something they called “band” but unlike Dana King’s band there were no instruments. We sat in a circle and talked. Honest, that’s what we did. In the 70s. Well, everything happens a little later in Canada, even the 60s were ten years late…
Of course, seventeen years old is not a good age to try and become self-actualized. I only lasted a semester and a half before I packed up and, as the song says, headed out to Alberta because I heard there was work there (I like the Neil Young version).
And there begins the most cliché of all stories, the journey to find yourself. As Don Draper says,“It'll get easier as you move forward." And as Stephanie replies, “Oh, Dick, I don't think you're right about that."
There’s a lot of literature to back up Stephanie in this discussion, so many stories of people trying to outrun their own pasts and not being able to.
So what are some of your favourite journey of discover stories?