Somerset, Jean Valjean and the Old Man

I was 22 when I watched Se7en. The movie was a hit and it is considered till today one of the best movies. While everybody raved about how great the movie and the acting were I was thinking of one particular character. It wasn’t the serial killer or any of  his seven victims. At 22, I found the life of Detective Somerset, played by Morgan Freeman, to be odd. Somerset was an old detective. He had no family and lived alone. For some reason this life style was not believable to me. I thought how come someone at this age has no family or friends.

In our 20s, we perceive life differently. We are still dependent and very close to our parents, brothers and sisters. We have many friends, the more the better. Going out alone is unacceptable. It is against the social norm and no one wants to be seen in the cinema watching a movie alone.

Now, in my mid 40s, Detective Somerset is one of the three fictional characters that are the closest to me. The two others are even closer and we have more things in common than I would like to admit. The Old Man in the Old Man and the Sea and Jean Valjean from the Les Misérables.

These two characters are my favorite by all means and their stories are the closest to my heart. I feel their pain, loneliness and guilt. My favorite movie scene of all time is when Jean Valjean felt free for the first time.

Middle age is a tough time in men’s life. It is the time, they notice dramatic changes around them. Younger people start addressing them with Sir, Uncle, or Hajj. Flirting with 20 something girls become creepy and with 30 something become sinful. It is the time, men notice they are getting old.

I was always fascinated by the lives of the Old Man and Jean Valjean. I read their stories when I was a teenager and the older I get, the more I relate to their lives. Some people believe loneliness and happiness are a choice, I don’t.

The saddest people I have seen are men in their 40s. Maybe in their 50s, men become comfortable with their age, but in their 40s, they live in denial of who they became.

 Jean Valjean and the Old Man lived a miserable life, but they determined to continue with their lives.

A friend once asked me “is it possible that a person may live their entire life miserable?” I answered: “No. God will eventually give them peace of mind.” Is happiness guaranteed before departing this world?


13 thoughts on “Somerset, Jean Valjean and the Old Man

  1. Your thoughts here are super-interesting and touching to me. I tend to be one who doesn’t need a lot of social interaction as long as I can check in online and read books, but I do have bouts of loneliness and boredom with life on occasion. I believe you and I have similar melancholic spirits so I think I can understand some of your struggle here. I wish … I could do more. For what it’s worth, I appreciate you, Malik, and wish you peace and joy. Thanks for your friendship, shallow or whatever that online friendships tend to be. I just wanted to let you know that I care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Susanne,
      This was the best thing I’ve read for a long, long time. Thank you very much for your thoughtful and kind words. I appreciate and value your friendship. Indeed, your comment made my day. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 😦 I totally related to this post. I’ve always been one to want to be married and have a few kids. At 34 years old and that not being a possibility right now, it does make me a bit sad, especially when I see people I went to school with married with children, or my niece (whose diapers I used to change) having a child.

    I don’t believe that happiness is guaranteed. Some people are just luckier than others. Some say that being satisfied with what you have is true happiness, but how happy can a person be if they’re alone? Of course, look at these stories on the news that they sometimes have where two people (well into old age) met, got married, and are happier than they’ve ever been. I guess you just have to have faith that one day your luck will change.


    1. I agree with you that some people are luckier than others.
      You are right some late marriages last even longer. But, it seems it is more difficult to fall in love when one is in their 40s than when they are in their 20s 🙂


      1. Very true. You also want to meet someone when everything is nice and wrinkle free and time and gravity haven’t done their dirty work. 😂😂


  3. I hit like but I am not sure if that is the accurate word (another symptom? maybe) lol.

    I do not know Malik, are you not mixing cause with effect(s)? I am to hit 40 soon but I do not feel that I belong to a category, I do not even feel I need to. I mean sure I get some of those feelings/experiences you stated but they go away as I notice other situations in life, my life, and reflect those (new) ones on me and my place on whatever circle of life I am in at that moment/day/week.

    Jean Valjean, hmmmmmmm. I have not seen the movie but that is too harsh to be associated with as one of the top 3 characters, no? 🙂 *do not dare say: when I am your age I will understand…better*


    1. Les Misérables is one of the best novels. I watched it first time when I was a kid as a cartoon series. I recommend watching the 1998 movie

      “*do not dare say: when I am your age I will understand…better*” hahaha… No, I will not say that. Unfortunately, most men don’t react well in their 40s whether they are married or single. It is a difficult age for some reason 🙂

      Thanks for your comment. Hopefully, we can meet since you are in Jordan now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jean Valjean is special to me because Les Mis holds a special place in my heart. My journey with started with the movie musical eventually leading to the stage show leading to reading the unabridged book. I am obsessed with Les Mis and it has had such a huge impact on my life and my musical journey.

    This tale of Jean Valjean, the ex-convict, and his second chance at life. Through his encounter with the bishop, he was able to learn the ways of the Lord and the bishop changed his life forever. All of his decisions were influenced by the example the bishop set for him.


    1. Hi Adventure girl 🙂 Thanks for your comment and stopping buy.
      I usually reply within a day on my blog, but was busy with life.
      The Les Misérables is one of my favorite movies.
      “All of his decisions were influenced by the example the bishop set for him.” Yes, true. I think it is a lesson for us to always be kind to others. Karma is real!


  5. I feel like the 40s are such a wonderful tranisition time. We’re old enough to know a good deal about the world and still have at least (hopefully) as much time ahead of us as we have behind.


    1. Hi Sonia,
      I like looking into the 40s your way 🙂 I love it!
      “We’re old enough to know a good deal about the world and still have at least (hopefully) as much time ahead of us as we have behind.”

      Liked by 1 person

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