The Time Traveler’s Wife Delivers Self-Improvement Insight
Before seeing the Time Travelers Wife at the theater, I got me a copy of the book. I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. It was just for fun reading, but this one scene left me with a revelation I just had to share on Career Jockey.
For the scene to make sense, I have to explain the main character’s predicament. (I promise not to ruin it for you.) Henri’s a time traveler – no technology needed. He gets plucked out of the present and sent back and forth through time with no control over when and where he’s going or how long he’ll be. The story chronicles how Henri, and later his wife, Claire, deal with his “disability” and how their relationship evolves over time.
Early on we learn that the older, married Henri has traveled back and met the young version of his wife Claire during her childhood. He first meets her at 6 and visits with her many times over the next 12 years. She develops a close relationship with him that marks her growing up.
The scene that struck me was when Henri at 28 meets Claire at 20. Claire’s been anticipating this moment. She has already grown to love the man Henri will become, but Henri has never met her. She knows they will marry. He is a bit shocked.
Knowing that at 28, he was at his cockiest, in a failing relationship with this nutcase girlfriend and filled with a ton of vices, the wiser, older Henri had warned the young Claire, “Have mercy on me when we first meet.” He knows Claire will be meeting only a shell of the man she has come to know and will have to wait for him to grow up.
That was my “ah-hah” moment. I remember the person I was in my late teens and twenties when my wife of 25 years and I dated. I was overly driven, self-reliant, ambitious to a fault and unaware of how my actions affected her or anyone else for that matter.
Despite the shortcomings, my wife saw something in me that led her to choose me. Something was right as far as she knew, but thank God I’ve grown and matured. A review of the years shows a jagged progression going from worse to better, but it’s not like I’m cooked yet. I can still recall things I did to my wife as recently as five years ago that at the time made perfect sense to me. Today, I know them to be unacceptable and no way to treat someone I love.
And the same is true in my work life. I’ve become so much savvier. I’ve developed skills I never even dreamed I’d have ten years ago. I have grown my network of contacts and now can get support in ways I didn’t know existed several years back. I’d like to believe I’m a better job candidate today than I was before.
As I reflected on this, it became so clear to me how far I’ve come. What also became clear is how far I’ve got to go. If I spend too much time focused on my shortcomings, I might get a little frustrated. I might get flustered by mistakes I still make that I should have kicked by now.
But I do know one thing. I was good enough at 20 for my wife to select me and I was good enough at 40 for her to stay with me. You know, I’m probably good enough now for us to be right for each other. The same is probably true for my career.
So I’m looking forward to the future with excitement knowing I’ll have so many opportunities to learn and grow and mature some more. Even more so I’m looking forward to reaching 60, should I be so lucky, and yet again look back and see that I’ve become the next best version of the person I used to be.
Hope this helps.