Another year has closed, a new one has started, and I’m thinking about Star Trek.
We’re talking about the OG Star Trek from the 1960s: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, the eclectic theme song with the campy yet ethereal vocalizations that feel as far out as the stories the show told. I grew up in a Star Trek household. It’s my mother’s favorite show (to this day), and I can remember my tweenaged self, sitting with her on the couch on weekends, as she explained the plots, pointed out her favorite scenes, and then inevitably gushed that the next one coming up was “such a good one!” Spoiler alert: they were all good ones.
I enjoyed the show as a kid, but now as an adult, I have to admit it’s the definition of outlandish. What saved it, though, were the deeply human stories it told in just under an hour. As a budding writer and science fiction lover, the show made sense to me and spoke to me on a level that piqued my interest and my imagination. I felt I was learning about the human condition—about the motivations that drive us, about hubris and humility, about love, community, and being brave in the face of the unfamiliar and alien.
What stuck out to me most of all—more than the stories, the theme song, or my mom’s nerdy excitement—was the opening monologue. We all know it: “Space. The final frontier…” While that’s as exciting a hook as you can get, it was the last line that clung to me: “… [to] seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before!”
Over the last few months, my mom and I have been watching Star Trek again. Just an episode here and there on nights when we’re together and a “really good one” is on. And each time we start an episode, I’m still captured by the proclamation to boldly go. Watching it now as an adult, I see that the stories they’re telling are deeply rooted in a singular theme: facing the unknown.
No matter where the crew of the Starship Enterprise goes, they are met with new problems, unforeseen obstacles, and strange pleasures. No matter what, they always leave with a new perspective on life and the universe at large. That’s the energy I want to take into this new year: to boldly go, whether it’s to somewhere new or somewhere I’ve been before. To fill spaces with boldness so that I might explore, learn, seek, and grow.
So much of life depends on our attitudes. If we expect the worst, we can attract the worst. If we boldly go into an experience, we might not get the best outcome, but we will always get a valuable lesson. A dear friend of mine once told me that “there are no good or bad things. There are only things and what we learn from them.” In the last few years, I’ve allowed myself to become wary because I’ve deemed so many things “bad.” I’ve written about being open to uncertainty, welcoming newness, and looking for the light, but I haven’t practiced what I’ve preached.
What does it mean to boldly go? What does that look like? I think that as I walk into this year, it means facing each day with confidence. It means entering each space with bravery, even if I don’t feel it deep down. It means doing it afraid and not expecting the worst or the best, but simply being receptive to the experience.
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