Sunday, March 15, 2015

Myth Hunters, Cynicism, and Growing-Up

I still have no voice--for nine days now!--so Matt and I spent the weekend together watching Myth Hunters on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, but you like documentary-type shows, you should check this out. There's two seasons and the topics are all really interesting. But, more than just being interesting, the show's got me thinking about who I am. About who most of us are, really.

When we were children, we believed anything was possible. Our imaginations were high, our cynicism low. We thought it was completely feasible to be a princess or a astronaut, in our minds we could fly and so could our magical pegasus. We dug for treasure in our back yards, pretended to be married to the boy next door, and imagined ourselves growing up to marry Joey Mcintyre of New Kids on the Block fame. 

The point is, when I was a kid I believed in magic and miracles. Growing up, life happens and makes it harder and harder to believe in anything. At 36 years old, the magic is pretty much drained out of life. I'm about a cynical as they come, I tend to believe in the worst. But, it wasn't always like that. 

So, I'm watching Myth Hunters, with stories about fully grown adults (many older than me) chasing completely infeasible myths. They believe in King Arthur and go looking for his bones, in the Arc of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, the Lost Dutchman's Gold, Montezuma's treasure, the lost city of El Dorado. They believe that crystal skulls have mystical powers. They utilize resources most people couldn't begin to access to test wood believed to be from the cross of Christ. They risk their lives, and get throw in Vietnamese prisons, looking for the buried pirate treasure of Captain Kid.

I'm watching this, watching these people tell their stories or the stories of people who've died, and I'm wondering how these adults have managed to hang onto the magic. How is it possible these people aren't as overwhelmed with the act of living as the rest of us? More than that, how do they hold their heads up and hang onto their beliefs in the face of the rest of us, who look at them and think their quests are just a little bit crazy.

I kind of envy these people. Even though most of them "waste" their lives on a fools errand, I wish I had the power inside me to believe in something so far fetched with so much of my being. I wish I believed, as in one of the stories, that I could actually find the Minotaur and his maze. I wish I believed in buried treasure. I wish we, as a society, allowed for that sort of thing. I wish it wasn't a marginalized few who found the power to take on "treasure hunter" as a job title. 

Whatever happens to the ability to believe in the far-fetched, however it happens, I wish I didn't. I don't know when we stopped believing our imaginary pegasus could fly and started being "grown-ups" but the world could use less grown-ups. Less grown-ups and more people like those featured on Myth Hunters. More people who still believed in magic.