Thursday, July 12, 2007

Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man

Yesterday, during a brief couple of hours downtime, George, Daniel and I sat down to watch a 'docudrama' that I had rented from Netflix. The film was 49 Up! which, if you haven't seen it yet, you should drop what you are doing right now - go on, I'll wait - and go rent it.

The premise of 49 Up! is this. In 1964, English filmmakers gathered a group of fourteen British children from various economic and social backgrounds, all age 7, and made a documentary about them called 7 Up. Every seven years afterward, they revisited the same children and made another documentary about them, chronicling their lives at the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42 and now 49.

I can't even begin to tell you how fascinating this series is and I have goosebumps now even as I am typing this. At first, you smile as you watch vintage black and white footage of this kids being interviewed and asked such questions as "What do you want to be when you grow up?". You laugh out loud when one kid answers "When I grow up, I want to be either an astronaut or a coach driver" Hhhhmmmm Diverse?

Then, as they each grow older, you see how their upbringing and social standing affects their lives and it is astounding how such simple things can make such a difference. One guy had been brought up in a care (not quite sure what the American Version of this is - it escapes me now) and when asked, ALL he ever wanted in life was to have a family, be happy, to love and be loved. Not rich, or famous or anything like that, just basic things that he didn't have when he was a child. You could see during his whole life - 'till 49, that he was always questioning whether he was doing enough, and doubting whether the people IN his life really did love him. All this, and had his parents made better - different - choices, you have to wonder how different this man would be. At many times I was all ready with my Kleenex as you see them with their families, or being homeless, or arguing with the filmaker about how intrusive this filming is etc.,

Many times during the film, I turned to George and said that I would have LOVED to have taken part in this. I would love to see vintage me at 7, to have captured in film my dreams, my goals etc., To be filmed now, at almost 38 and see just how different my life IS, to see how different my goals ARE from that young child at 7 would be amazing. I'm almost crying thinking about it.

I can't tell you enough just how amazing this film is, and I really wasn't joking when I said GO RENT IT NOW!!!!!! I can guarantee that watching this will make you think about your own life, the decisions you have made and how you make future decisions. It has certainly made me think about mine.

I have also added some pictures of a younger me, just so you can see what I WAS like, and if you personally know me, I wonder if, looking at these pictures, I am the person you thought I would have ended up as?

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