Quo Vadimus

Few people speak, or even know much Latin these days – what, with it being a dead language and all. You might as well throw some Sanskrit out there while you’re at it. But then again I think if people really thought about it there are probably only one or two phrases they’re familiar with. Most people know “carpe diem,” which translates to “seize the day.” I’ve heard the phrase about a million times, but I have never really been one of those “carpe diem” types. But, one of my other favorites, and to be honest the only other phrase I know is “quo vadimus” which translates to, “where are we going?”

I heard this phrase some years back while watching a television show I really liked. The show was called Sports Night. It was an awesome show, with an equally awesome cast. Just to name a few there was Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Robert Guillaume (Benson, kick-ass show), Josh Charles (Threesome in the 90’s, and more recently The Good Wife on CBS) and Peter Krause (Six Feet Under, and more recently Parenthood on NBC). See, awesome!!! Unfortunately, I seemed to be one of the only people that thought so as the show only lasted two short seasons.

A quick synopsis of the show is that it was a drama about a sports news show. Kind of like the West Wing version of Sports Center. It was even created by Aaron Sorkin, who created the West Wing. It spent very little time about what was going on during the sports show, and spent most of the time about what was happening behind the scenes; taking more of an in-depth look into the characters’ personal lives. Anyway, when the network (the real one, not the network from the show) decided not to renew Sports Night they had to come up with a pretty convincing ending pretty quick, and they did a pretty good job. They ended it by saying that the parent company that owned the channel that Sports Night was filmed on was being bought out and they may be canceled. Everyone is obviously distraught and worried about what they are going to do next, and more importantly, where they are going. Thus the title of the two-part episode entitled…..yup, you guessed it, Quo Vadimus.

Felicity Huffman’s character (Dana), who is the head of the show, spends a lot of her time at a bar near the TV station, where she encounters this strange man who keeps saying to her that everything will be ok and not to worry. Even as rumors start to swirl about a potential buyer, no ones know anything. Will they keep the show on? Will they be canceled? What is going to happen? Every time Dana runs into this stranger at the bar he tries to reassure her that everything will be ok with constant stories of how he started his own business from the ground up, and how there were times where he wasn’t sure he, or the company, was going to make it. Being the hard-nosed, no nonsense kind of character, Dana has just about had it with this guy’s story and just wants to be left alone to wallow in her own self pity. She finally asks him what his point is, and he says “When times got really tough I would say to my employees, where are we going? So ask yourself, where are you going? And everything should be ok.” This is the final straw for Dana, she tells the guys he’s crazy and leaves.

Later comes word that the show is being purchased by a company called Quo Vadimus. Dana and the crew still have no idea what’s happening. At the end of the show Dana gives a passionate speech about how she has loved working with all the team, and that this may be their last show, and in her frustration says that have been bought by a company called Quo Vadimus, and that she doesn’t even know what it means. She quickly finds out from one of the more educated members of the staff, puts two and two together, and figures out who Mr. Mysterious is in the bar, the owner of Quo Vadimus, and owner of Sports Night.

So, on that note, I know I said a quick synopsis, but for those of you who “know” me, you know I never really do anything quick when it comes to talking movies/TV shows. Just ask my wife.

So lately, I have been thinking about the phrase Quo Vadimus, a lot. And now that I am writing this, I can see where Carpe Diem fits in too. Where carpe diem is all about living in the present, quo vadimus encourages you to consider the future. Both are equally important if actually want to get somewhere. The reason I say this is for as often as you may attempt to live each day to the fullest, you may still end up going nowhere in the end.

It is important to stop and consider what you’re doing, and whether it is taking you where you actually want to be. But many people don’t actually know where they want to go. Hell, I have been feeling that way a lot lately. Personally, I feel like each day ends up being a step in a direction, but instead of a thought-out direction, it’s a random one. Take enough random steps, and odds are that you’ll end up back where you started. This is been my discovery as of late. I feel like I am not making much progress in the direction I want my life to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my life as a whole. I love my wife, I love my family and friends, and generally I think I have a pretty good life.

It’s just that, career-wise, I feel like I’m going nowhere. I have the same complaints as other jobs…..well, maybe not completely the same. The job I’m at right now is the fifth ring of hell, I’m convinced of that. But lately as I vent to my wife I start to get this feeling like, “I’ve been here before,” and that’s because I have. I’m just going in circles.

I think this may be the case with a lot of people. When you realize that you’re going in circles, and things get bad, that’s the time to stop and ask yourself, “Where am I going?” Sometimes it’s difficult to ask yourself the hard questions, because your answer may be that you’re going somewhere you don’t want to go. But in the end, that’s ok, because now you know. After all, to get to where you want to go in life, not only do you need to know your destination, but you need to know where you are in life.

This has been my new thought process lately. I have spent so much time worrying about why things aren’t going my way, and why it seems like nothing I want to happen comes my way. Maybe it’s because I have not spent enough time looking at where I really want to go. I just complain that I don’t want to be where I’m at currently, but I have no idea where I want to go.
This is kind of how I’ve spent most of my life; kind of drifting from one point to another. The only time I have ever really had any “structure” or “direction” was when I was in the military. Shit, I didn’t have much of a choice, now did I, lol. Up until I met my wife, I kind of just lived life one day at a time. This isn’t a bad thing. I mean, I could have been doing a lot worse, and it’s also not like I was some vagabond drifting from one place to another. I was going to school and working, doing all the good ole adult shit. But I had no direction.

I mean, I thought I had direction, but to be honest, if you asked me, “What are you going to do after you graduate,” I would probably stared at you and said, “I don’t know.” I was working a job I didn’t even like; I had no prospects of a career on the horizon, and more importantly, my personal and spiritual life were not much to talk about either. And I don’t mean my “personal life” pertaining to my friends and stuff like that. I’m more referring to hobbies or things I wanted to do within the community, and spiritual kind of speaks for itself.

Since moving here to DC I have kind of continued this trend of no direction, and then the eventual bitching and complaining would start. But all is not so negative. I see small changes in my life that I can honestly say have helped clear the muddy waters of my life. I have taken steps to get back things in my personal life that bring me great joy; things I gave up while going to school. For example, I have gotten back into High School Football Officiating. I never realized how much officiating brings me so much joy. I have a blast while I’m out there. It’s the next best thing to playing. Not that I would really know what playing feels like, lol, I never really got to play as a teen because I sucked. My spiritual life has also grown leaps and bounds, but I won’t go too much into detail right now, not because I am ashamed or afraid to talk about it. It’s more because I’m still working on it, so I don’t want to get too in depth into something that I am still so new at.

Yes, I am at a job that I can’t stand. Yes, I’m still looking for some more direction. But at least now I know that I’m actually looking for something, or a destination. But the cool thing, I have also come to realize that that destination is going to be ever changing as I reach new stages in my life. All I can do is focus on the now and find my now-destination, and to seize every opportunity that may come my way.

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  1. #1 by chris on June 29, 2010 - 8:37 pm

    Don’t mind if I do….Satyameva Jayate, my friend

  2. #2 by Sara on July 5, 2010 - 10:25 pm

    Have you seen Dead Poets Society? Robin Williams has a great speech on Carpe Diem, and they quote the Robert Herrick poem “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time” which goes:

    Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying:
    And this same flower that smiles to-day
    To-morrow will be dying.

    The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
    The higher he’s a-getting,
    The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he’s to setting.

    That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
    But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

    Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And while ye may, go marry:
    For having lost but once your prime,
    You may for ever tarry.

    Never fails to give me goosebumps, brother.

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