Well, Netflix…the online streaming is still Netflix, right?…had to go and try to deprive me of much-needed sleep. Of course this is me, so the culprit is not the latest edgy new show. Nope. The culprit is none other than one Kevin Arnold and his friends. Yes, I’m a fan of The Wonder Years. In fact I always was, as it was one of the truly great shows of its time. And now, the entire series is streaming on Netflix.
You know, it occurs to me that one of my favorite current shows is How I Met Your Mother, and one of my all time favorite books is the The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer. Apparently, I like stories that involve narrators looking back on their lives and trying to make sense of it in one way or another. I wrote about How I Met Your Mother back in May. Of course we all know that the Wonder Years tell the story of Kevin Arnold’s adolescent years from 1968 to 1972. The Last Convertible is a man telling his future son-in-law the story of a group of friends coming of age in the crucible of World War II, personal scandals an all.
What is it that makes some of us enjoy looking back? It’s not like I want to go back to those formative years. I’m happy with my life, and yet there is something attractive and enjoyable is soaking in the memories. There’s something attractive about reflecting on the journey that has brought me to this point in my life, and it’s what makes shows like The Wonder Years enjoyable.
Of course, some other things have occurred to me. Kevin Arnold was born in 1956. That means that when Daniel Stern starts us on the show’s narrative journey in 1988, he’s looking back from the ripe old age of 32. By the time the show ends, if we assume that he spreads out the telling over the five years covered in the show, he’s at the ripe old age of…uh oh…37.
I’ve got a son of my own in school, and I realize that he’s the same age I was when I developed my first crush. In two years, he will reach the age when two of my life-long friends entered my life. Before I know it, he will be setting off on his own adventures, the same kind that I glorify when I look back and reminisce.
My son’s story is starting. For all I know about what the future holds, his Winnie Cooper or Paul Pfieffer could be in his life right now. And my daughter won’t be far behind.
Yes, life’s journey goes on, and as I continue on my path I have become aware that my kids are just starting on their own adventures. And what will their futures be? Where will their journeys take them.