“May the bridges I burn light the way.”
If you don’t recognize this quote I won’t blame you. It comes to us courtesy of Dylan McKay and the television classic Beverly Hills 90210 (the original).
Recently I listened to sports writer Bill Simmons and his friend Matt Barry break down the entire series into 46 award categories and essentially applaud the greatness of the show for over 2 hours in a 2 part podcast. It was some of the funniest internet entertainment that I’ve ever enjoyed.
But after listening to it once for pleasure and once for work (I know, how lucky am I?) the one thing that stuck with me was the quote from Dylan to Brandon. Dylan was heavy back into the booze and he and Brandon were once again getting into the kind of fight that only people that care very deeply for each other will get into.
The line got me thinking. A lot. When Dylan said it he was pissed off at the world. And while I’m not in that place right now, I know that there are bridges I have burned. There are people that will line up to tell you that.
So I wonder if mine will they light my way? And if they do, is it a bad thing?
Can I use my past failures, mistakes, missteps and fuck ups as guidelines of what not to do for the future, because that sounds like a fantastic idea. It would mean admitting to myself that there are some bridges and relationships that will never be rebuilt. It would mean taking a long, hard look at what I did that lead me to those situations and why I never want to be there again. And that’s not easy work. That is gut wrenching, heart hurting, headache inducing stuff.
Admitting our own mistakes is never easy. Acknowledging that we hurt people and can’t take back those words and actions is a helpless fucking feeling. It makes me cringe, makes my heart pound and makes me want to say a thousand apologies to the people that were once so much a part of my life and now seem gone. It also makes me want to thank those who have forgiven me and continued to love me.
It’s because of those people that I want to take Dylan’s words and use them as my own. I’ve seen the hurt in the eyes of the ones I love and have loved. I’ve seen the tears and felt their salty sting. Those are things that I will never forget. How could I? And so I will let my past guide me. I will let it lead me down the paths ahead of me.
I never in my life thought that Dylan McKay would be a major influence on my growth as a person. But that’s the way it seems to be going right now.