Movies have a way of making me look at life and some affect me profoundly, much to my chagrin. I’ve always been very affected by movies I see, some more so than others, but every once in a while, I see one that I just can’t shake. This is the case with the Steve Carrell movie, “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.”
The premise of the film is that a meteor is rocketing toward earth and the destruction of the planet is a foregone conclusion. The people of Earth have a few short weeks until life, itself, is obliterated. No great surprise, people react differently to this news. Some fornicate, take drugs, loot businesses, and act otherwise irresponsibly. Material possessions suddenly mean nothing, because, as we all know, you can’t take it with you. As one character in “Seeking” observes, the end of the world is “the great equalizer.” Others in the movie take stock of their lives and reflect on what is truly important to them, as does Steve Carrell’s character, Dodge. (I love that his character’s name is Dodge, as if he can somehow “dodge” the meteor and death).
For me, it’s difficult to watch a movie like this one and not ponder my own fate. What if I knew I only had weeks to live? This movie, coupled with my birthday and the loss of a long time friend and neighbor, had me reeling. What would I do if I knew I had a finite amount of time on this planet? I really took this thought to heart, and decided that I would not waste one more nanosecond on work. As with most people, I would spend as much time with my family as possible. I would pour over photo albums. I would play every board game in my house with my kids. I’d throw my t.v. out the window so I wouldn’t get sucked into wasting time watching trash like “The Jersey Shore.” I’d marvel over my children as they slept, and examine every hair on their respective heads. I would buy the best bottle of wine and savor it with my friends. I’d go through my phone, address book and Facebook friends and I would contact each person and let them know how they touched my life. I’d forgive those who had wronged me and beg forgiveness of those I had wronged. I wouldn’t be sad and wonder why this had to happen–I wouldn’t want to waste one more minute on sadness. Instead, I would want to celebrate life. I’d camp in a national park, and gaze in awe at the majesty of the trees and scenery. I would take a cross country trip with my kids and have as many adventures along the way as we possibly could. I would visit the ocean and spend a day frolicking in the sand and surf–and I wouldn’t wear sunscreen. How’s that for rebellious?
The list goes on and on. I’d chuck my fear of heights and dive from the high dive. I’d go on fast roller coasters and scream with wild abandon. I’d spend all my money on ice cream. I’d have a massive party and invite all my friends and family and anyone else who wanted to show up! I would play music, as loudly as possible. And just to make sure I hadn’t lost my sense of humor, I’d crank Def Leppard’s “Armageddon It.”
I’d visit nursing homes and spend time with the residents who would otherwise be forgotten. I’d listen to their stories from the past and let them know I cared. And it would be very important for me to let my mom know how much I love her and how wonderful she and my dad were to me and my siblings. We would all share memories and together, we would laugh. Most importantly,I would ask God for forgiveness, and I would be truly thankful for the many, tremendous blessings that have been bestowed on me. At the end of it all, I think being grateful would be the best testament to a life well-lived.
I recognize most people,… ok, most sane people don’t react to movies the way I do but, I am glad that certain ones affect me so profoundly. We take life for granted. We procrastinate. We focus on having the biggest house or the nicest car. We shouldfocus on our actions, not our acquisitions. While I don’t advocate living in fear, we must recognize that we have no control over when our time is up, so we should live accordingly. Approach each day as if it were our last and do so with joy and appreciation in our hearts. To quote another iconic movie, “The Shawshank Redemption”, each one of us has the opportunity to “get busy living, or get busy dying.”
The ironic part of my reaction to this movie is that while I ponder what I would do with limited time, I must realize that I do have limited time. So it may have been impetuous of me, but I decided not to waste another nanosecond on a job I was dispassionate about, so I quit and got one I truly love. And as much as I love writing this blog, it’s time for me to go watch my children sleep.