Archive for the ‘Growing Up’ Category

Weeknights at 10 to 11pm EST, ION Television has been showing reruns of The Wonder Years. Last night, “Independence Day,” the series finale, aired and summed up the lives of the Arnold family, Paul, Winnie, and of course, Kevin.

Many of you who’ve seen the show already know what happened (and if you don’t, stop reading now and turn your TV to Ion for some nostalgic programming). Paul went on to Harvard to study law, Kevin’s sister Karen has a little one on the way, Kevin and Winnie actually don’t end up together happily ever, and most shockingly, Jack Arnold passes away in the next couple years.

Some fans have wondered why the show’s producers ended The Wonder Years this way. They are puzzled as to why Kevin and Winnie didn’t live happily ever after. They also question why—after years of hard word and middle-class struggle—the archetypical American head-of-household Jack dies.

In my opinion, Kevin and Winnie living as happily-married high-school sweethearts would have been contrary to the show’s message. The Wonder Years was about the turmoil of growing up, the adolescent years where childhood things were to be abandoned as we progressed toward the adult world. Hobbies and activities were slowly neglected and forgotten. Friends grew apart. People change. We look back and remind ourselves of the good times and lament their passing. And life goes on.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in America’s living rooms when that last episode first aired. In fact, when Melissa and I watched it again last night she cried as if she saw this for the first time, and I struggled a little bit to keep back the tears, especially during the final scene.

The Wonder Years told the story of lost childhood, something you couldn’t hold on to no matter how hard you tried. I couldn’t help but analyze my own experiences growing up. Could I have done things differently? Could I have befriended more people? Could I have learned to be happier? It is a futile experience because I do not own a time machine.

The only things all of can do is march forward and anticipate the happy times. As for me, I’m getting married and about to embark on a different career path. My thirties are just around the corner. I am not a child anymore and haven’t been for a long time now. The future is where my life remains, not the past. And I look forward to those years with wonder.
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