Monday, August 26, 2019

We are NOT the Walking Dead

Sometime in the early 2000's I heard about a new comic book series about zombies. Being a fan of the genre I was especially excited to read that the author planned to continue the series indefinitely. To create an ever expanding apocalyptic world.

15 years and 193 issues later the series has come to an end. In the final act Rick announces to a crowd, "We are NOT the Walking Dead!". This parallels an important moment very early in the series when Rick says the same line, but without the "not". It's then that the writers reveal that in this world all humans, no matter how they die, become zombies.

Reading the end of this series, feeling the "NOT" in the last speech, made me so happy. The world they created moved beyond survival. Mirroring the comic books themselves, the characters had created something bigger than themselves. The positive ending also struck a familiar chord with my life the last few days. With school starting back and my extended paternity leave ending, this last weekend was still wonderfully boring.

We went on our first family walk downtown in quite a while (now featuring bike riders). Had tacos and ice cream. Finished off the original Batman Animated Series with my children. Played some basketball with friends. Had s'mores with family. Rejoined the original improv team I help form 8 years ago. My new church celebrated our 3 year birthday. So many everyday joys.

I won't spoil the book series, but the theme of legacy is strong. Rick is a character who creates something that extends beyond his own life. This is one of my core missions. It's how I view education. It's how I view my improv theater. And it's how I view being a husband and father. Build and add. Part of me felt energized by the finale. A push to go out and grow my worlds bigger. I do plan to do that. Even more I felt a sense of, if I can quote another recent meaningful series ender, that I can "rest now".

I'm writing this to commemorate the deep feeling of gratitude I've been feeling lately. At 34 I've already done more than I thought I ever would. If this is the best it ever gets, if this happens to be the end of what I have now, I want to say I enjoyed the good old days while I was in them. We are NOT the walking dead. Right now, we are alive. And so, I'll leave you with the last page of the series.

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