George Bailey had big dreams. He wanted to travel and see the world. Instead, he ended up staying in Bedford falls and running his father's business after his father unexpectedly died. He got married, had a bunch of kids ("You call this a happy family? Why do we have to have all these kids?") and ran the Bailey Brother's Building Loan the best way he could. When Mr. Potter took advantage of Uncle Billy's mistake, George thought his whole life had been wasted.
We learn that it wasn't and George had done so much good for every one that he truly had had a wonderful life. The community came together and provided money to keep George out of jail and the Building and Loan afloat. Everyone sings Hark the Harold Angels Sing and For Auld Lang Syne and Clarence, the Angel gets his wings.
A happy ending only Hollywood could deliver. But the reality is, George is probably only in his mid-thirties or early forties at the most. He has a lot of life left. And what happened? Dianna Hall posed the following question:
Let's talk about George Bailey. Everyone loves George, and he has helped so many people. Mary loves him and thinks he's amazing, but George just feels trapped in Bedford Falls. He reaches a crisis point, Clarence comes, the town rallies and George is saved. Then what? Leaving aside any legal issues, what happens to George? Does he make peace with being George Bailey, or does he move on, or wait until retirement to move to Florida (but doesn't because ZuZu won't take over the Building and Loan)?
I know a few George Baileys and I wonder how the story really ends.
After Christmas ends, and George has to go back to work, does he maintain the feelings of joy and love he felt on Christmas Eve or after a few months does he begin to feel trapped? Does he ever get to travel? Does he think that the joy he brought to the community makes up for the trapped feeling he had? Does Potter's assistant rat Potter out or does Potter continue to harass George up until George dies young like his father did, making his oldest son give up his dreams?
Are you a George Bailey? Constantly sacrificing for others and for your business and not every chasing your dreams? Or are you happy with your life as it is?
If you have a dream denied by your responsibilities, you obviously don't want to abandon your family and your employees who depend on you, but do you deserve to be stuck in your own Bedford Falls? You don't want to chase a dream only to end up not taking responsibility. Or do you realize that this is happiness?
Personally, I hope that George and Mary have been fiscally responsible in their own lives and can retire young enough and healthy enough to fill George's travel dreams and if he doesn't have a child who wants to run the Building and Loan, that he sells it, instead of having a child feel obligated.
I've known some George Baileys as well, and some have found true happiness in their lives of service, and others keep doing what they need to do but feel bitter about it. If you're a George Bailey, hopefully you can find peace and recognize how blessed you truly are.