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Star Trek: The Next Generation Turns 25. Happy Birthday!!!

Star Trek: The Next Generation Turns 25. Happy Birthday!!!

Even though I can’t seem to find a completely definitive answer to the actual date of your birth, I’d like to say Happy Birthday you wonderful show, you!

What can I say that hasn’t been said before? How do you wish a TV show Happy Birthday? Well …

I know, 25 years ago, when I was begrudgingly  watching the pilot episode of The Next Generation I didn’t think I would find myself sitting in a sushi restaurant at lunch, writing about that very show on its quarter century birthday. However, that’s where I find myself…enjoying good food from a part of the world far from where I grew up, pondering the impact of TNG, on my life.

It turns out, that Star Trek: The Next Generation has influenced my life more than I would have ever thought possible. When I actually pondered the idea, I started to see all the subtle benefits that I’ve received from the ideals and principals of Next Gen throughout the years. So many, in fact, that I had to pick just a few to mention here.

One of the ways it helped expand my universe was by giving me a curiosity and interest in cultures other than my own.  Watching the crew encounter new peoples and planets, sometimes with good results and sometimes with bad, gave me courage to explore and learn about people right here on Earth. Opening my eyes to what was right in front of me, seeing people as “people” and not as “strangers”, discovering new ideas and learning new perspectives gave me a compassion for people I didn’t previously have. I suddenly became aware of the beauty and worth of individuals.

Another big impact was gaining the courage to become more than I thought I was. Everyone has at least some negative perceptions of themselves, for me it was more than “a few”. Some we put on ourselves and some are thrust upon us from outside sources. For me, some of those fears and self-doubts were mirrored back in the characters and situations I saw on the screen. I got to see how they dealt with similar scenarios to those that I was going through. I saw new perspectives of old ideas that I didn’t know existed, and I got comfort from the realization that I was not alone. The fictional examples I saw on the screen somehow gave me a tangible courage to rise above my fears and reach for things I had thought were impossible.

Last but not least, I found friendship. Not the pseudo-friendship of a warm fuzzy show, but the actual friendship of real people. People whom I’ve gotten to know on a personal level, people who have become comrades in the good times and the sad…caring and supportive people whom I would have never met, had it not been for our mutual appreciation for Star Trek.

This TV show entertained us, but didn’t just entertain. It provided a much needed means of escape from the unpleasant parts of our daily lives. It inspired us to dream of and persevere toward fantastic goals. It showed us comprehensible examples of compassion, tenacity and patience.  So many influences I never realized were there.

So how do I tell a TV show happy birthday? I say, “thank you.”  Thank you for being such a positive influence in my life. Thank you TNG…and a very Happy 25th Birthday to you!!!

Bye Bye, Robot: Official Licensed Star Trek Fine Art