It’s amazing how much movies have been able to factor into my life and change it. Or at least make me realize something.
Oh sure they make you laugh, they make you cry, they make you angry or sad. But there is something about movies that just really means something to me.
I just finished watching One Week. It’s a movie starring Joshua Jackson. An otherwise healthy individual who for some reason or another is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer with a max of two years – and that’s if the treatment works. In the first couple seconds after hearing the news, he thinks of three things and these will all come to fruition over the course of the movie. On the way home to reveal to his fiance the horrible news, he comes across someone selling a motorcycle. He takes it for a spin and of course, buys the bike. This is about where his life really begins.
Joshua Jackson is perfect for this role. And I’m not saying that just because a much younger me had this slight infatuation with him. I just think he’s got this way of being that makes him seem real. He talks like a normal person. He looks like a normal person and he comes into this role as a normal person. He’s not always smiling. He’s also not the type of person that has to look perfect all the time with chiseled features and a six-pack abs. The role he plays is a person trying to determine the age old question “What would you do if you only had one day to live? one week? One month?”
As you know, my mother was recently diagnosed with Cancer. She too is stage four. She too was given two years. But she knew what she wanted. She wanted her family around her. She wanted to appreciate the little things, like sitting by her pool and sitting around a bonfire with her family just staring at the flames. She wanted to tell all of us that we love her and she really wanted to laugh. She set all of those wishes into motion because she doesn’t know how long she has. She might get 5 years, she may get 5 months. This we do not know.
The thing that has hit me ever since I found out and had time to digest it, we get one life. One life to do what we want, when we want. We have the ability to make choices and to make sacrifices. We can reach for our dreams, or help others acheive theirs. It’s all our life to live how we choose.
I’ve looked around at my friends, both in real life and online, and I’ve seen a lot of things that just don’t seem that important. And I may have made some decisions that have impacted those friendships simply because I have chosen to live another way. I have been trying to tune out the negative, and perhaps that means tuning out the negative people. It may also mean that I’ve tuned out the overtly positive people because I’ll be honest, I can’t deal with fakeness right now. We need to live real. We need to be real.
Earlier this year, my uncle passed away from cancer. He fought for 7 years and if there is one thing I noticed over that time was that he “Lived Like he was Dying”. I know it’s a country song, but I love it for all it represents. I think his passing hit me really hard as he was born the same year as my mother and at the same hospital. My mom was sick, but we didn’t know it was cancer yet, and it just made me see that there are choices in our lives. We have the ability to affect our own destiny. If we want to do something, or acheive something, the only thing holding us back is ourselves.
This year, I want to experience life close to home. I want to deepen friendships I’ve had for years, and ones I’ve had for a few months but feel right. I want to do what feels right and if it doesn’t, well I just don’t want to be involved. I’ve heard people time and time again tell me how they wish they had a love in their lives. I don’t think they realize that the first love they need to have in order to find love, is a love of themselves. A love of who they are and what they want and what they want to acheive.
Another movie I watched this weekend helped me see that, and of course the latest book I read did as well. In the movie “Love that Boy” a bit of a control freak with a list of all she wants to acheive by college graduation finds herself without friends and with a dwindling list. She has to look within herself and open herself up to new experiences and new people. Only then does she start to understand what college should be about and only then does she find love – ultimately that her love is within herself (and not really with the 14 year old boy across the street that she kisses.)
The book I just finished is more well known for the movie of the same name with Julia Roberts, “Eat Pray Love.” The book and the movie are VERY different, as you’d expect. Both left me with a different understanding and I’ll be honest, the Eat part in Italy just didn’t do it for me in the book. I was hoping for more description, but what I came to realize is that the book was a spiritual journey. One that I’ve been on a bit myself. Essentially, the book takes you through a journey that the only way to hapiness and true love is discovering what you really love and what you really want to do.
I had my moment with this, and I gladly shared this with my husband. From the age of 16 to 22 I was in one long term relationship after another. That’s 6 years of giving of myself and giving into their wants and desires and having no idea what I really wanted. I took off to Alberta for awhile and found myself laughing and flirting again, but nothing stood out more as my moment as the first time I had to go and rent a movie from the video store. Now kids, before you ask what a video store is, let me tell you about a life before netflix and pirated movies. Back in the golden days of my 20’s we had a thing called a video store where you went and picked up a couple movies, the clerk swiped your card and then you paid them. You kept the movies for a couple days, watched them generally with popcorn and then you brought them back. It usually was a good thing for couples to do on weekends – especially if one wasn’t feeling well, or they were stuck in a rut. Anyhow, I found myself alone in a video store and I had a chance to pick out whatever I wanted. I had never felt this experience ever. The ability to choose what I wanted to see for a few hours without the aid of someone telling me that the movie looked like garbage. I stared down at the shelves and at the covers. I would read the back and ponder over each and every movie. I kept looking around for that moment where someone would tell me to put down the movies I had, that they weren’t worthy. But no one did. I cannot describe the intense satisfaction it gave me to pick 3 movies, all of my own devices, all indy flicks and not the top blockbuster. I wasn’t on any waiting lists, I could just walk out and enjoy whatever I wanted. It was a satisfaction that one doesn’t always have in their life. And it was a moment that for me helped me determine that even if someone told me the movie looked stupid, I would never let them tell me I couldn’t watch it. I could just watch it on my own. My husband knows this, as we have had the movie store conversation where he’s told me my choices blow and that he wants to see something else. But I always get one for me that I watch the next day. It’s okay. There is nothing wrong with me.
And so it’s through movies, and through my delight of reading anything I want, and through my knowledge that I can do whatever I want, that I know I’m living my life to it’s fullest. I know it’s not really an epic journey, but it’s a journey nonetheless. It’s my journey. And I’m going to take it wherever I want. Because I am me. I am still living. And so are you. So go on. Live your life. Love yourself and don’t let anyone tell you different.