Reflections on a Phenomenon: Boomer, Do You Know Who You Are?

As we totter toward the horizon, did we get lost along the way?

I recently watched the movie Phenomenon again. For those who’ve never seen it, John Travolta plays the central character George, a somewhat slow-witted nice guy who has a strange experience that awakens his consciousness and begins to hyperactivate his mind. In short, he becomes a phenomenon.

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Photo by the author.

The movie does a wonderful job of presenting George’s struggle as he seeks to understand what is happening to him. His friends, however, are equally befuddled and the unanswered questions that arise from their own insecurities cause misunderstanding, pain and rejection. It’s almost as scary to know a phenomenon as to be one.

In my opinion it was a good story well told. Like all good stories, it unearthed buried regions of my own soul, areas I’ve mined before and will mine again because I believe there are still precious jewels to uncover there.

This is a life theme to which I often return. Are we not each a phenomenon in our own way? This line of thought soon leads into the important questions. What is the meaning of my life? What are my unique gifts? Where has my power come from from? And how much of it is unused, undeveloped, unactivated, untapped?

We use so little of our strength, our psychic powers, our capabilities. We choose, instead, to live in a dark, dull, ill-lit corridor called ‘life’, a cramped hallway with narrow walls, yellowed peeling wallpaper, moldy and stifling. Windowless and without wind. No unpredictable weather. And we wonder why it bores us, why we’ve lost our passion.

How did we become so disconnected from the dreams of our youth?

John Updike once made the observation that there are Four Life Forces: Love, Habit, Time and Boredom. Love and Habit are powerful, giving short term energy and stability to our lives. Time has a more long term grinding influence. But Boredom, the great leveler, is a prison that captures us subtly. When boredom becomes a habit, life passes us by.

The Wake-Up Call

I am writing to Boomers who have not yet completely yielded to this imprisonment. You may have noticed, however, a number of warning signals.

• Feeling of superficiality and fakiness, having to play games.
• Creeping deadness… lack of enthusiasm for life, work, etc.
• Aimlessness, lack of direction.
• Weakness, helplessness to change situation, feeling of powerlessness.
• An awareness that you are not changing the world; lack of social impact.

It’s time to wake up. Remember who you are. These are the things we believed in. These are the ideals we once held dear:


They are as relevant today as ever. Get in touch with your roots! Draw strength from who you are. Don’t give up the fight.

And to you younger people reading this: don’t trade your dreams to acquire safety. Play it safe and you’ll be dead before you time.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon

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