Akis and I went to go and see UP last weekend. It has been on my list of movies to see for a while and after friends had gone to see it, I dragged Akis out for 'date night' to see the movie. I already had a pretty good idea of the story line before going to see the movie, and had heard that there are some rather moving messages there.
As I watched the movie, it brought into focus some of the things that I have previously strived for in my life, but perhaps during the course of settling back into a life on land I have forgotten, pushed aside or just failed to make time for.
First is to be thankful for what you have. I realize that I may not be a millionaire, I may not be able to afford everything I want, but what I do have is a steady job where I won't get an ulcer from stress, where I arrive at the office at 9am, I leave the office at 4:30pm, I enjoy the company of my co-workers, and while I may not be the highest paid Software Consultant, I do make enough money to support my family and allow my husband to follow his dream. Akis and I have our health, we have good friends and the means to be able to keep what is important in our life.
Second, I realize that life is short. It may sound a bit cliche, but time is something that you can never get back. So I need to learn to use it more wisely. I need to remember to focus on using this in a way that helps me grow ~ yes that means more Greek lessons ~ using my time in ways that support and nurture my family and friends. Ultimately, it means I should be spending the evenings out on the beach with my husband, having dinner with friends, sharing experiences with others rather than being attracted to the hypnotic fascination of the television. Don't get me wrong, I will still continue to watch my TV, but maybe more in moderation. I don't think I will look back when I'm 80 and recall the great sit-coms I spent hours watching, but I will remember being with friends and family.
Third, Life is an adventure, and even though you may have started with one adventure in mind, you need to be open to what is out there. In the movie, Ellie has an Adventure Book she has had since she was a young girl. The young Ellie shows Carl her book, which is full of pictures of a place called Paradise Falls in South America. After all of the pictures, there is a page with the title "Stuff I'm Going To Do", and several blank pages to document her adventures. Ellie makes Carl cross his heart that they would have an adventure together, flying away to Paradise Falls. Ellie and Carl never make it to Paradise Falls. She becomes ill and passes away. Carl, in an attempt to recognize Ellie's dream, floats the house using balloons to Paradise Falls.
The moment that moved me is best described below:Carl finally arrives at the falls. He has finally achieved his goal and kept his promise to Ellie, but doesn't feel happy. Carl picks up Ellie's adventure book beside his feet. He flips through the pages, up until the page marked "Stuff I'm Going To Do". Thinking that the pages will be blank, Carl goes to shut it, but is suprised when he notices a bit of picture on the next page: The pages are not empty. They are filled with pictures of Carl and Ellie's life together. The final photo is of them, elderly and in their chairs. Below, in the corner, Ellie has written: "Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one. Love, Ellie." Carl learns that Ellie saw their simple life as her adventure.
And from this I have come to remember that we need to go out and live our adventures. Whether it is a trip to the coffee shop for that double/double, a road trip with a friend, or floating to a far off land ~ we need to look for our adventure, and to not be afraid to embrace all that life has to offer. For it is memories of these adventures that will make the great stories you will share when you are 80.
for a long time it seemed to me that
life was about to begin - real life but
there was always some obstacle in the
way, something to be gotten through
first, some unfinished business, time
still to be served, a debt to be paid.
at last it dawned on me that these
obstacles were my life. this perspective
has helped me to see there is no way
to happiness. happiness is the way. so
treasure every moment you have and
remember that time waits for no one.
Happiness is a jouney, not a destination....