I saw “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” this evening.
I laughed. I wept. My heart ached. Joy welled up from deep within my soul. This is a movie everyone should see. I can sum up its message with one quote from Benjamin (Brad Pitt):
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
I found myself measuring my life against those profound words:
It’s never too late: At 54 I walked away from a successful career to pursue a life of travel, writing, and photography. Two years later, I’m not rich, famous, or successful in any of those things. But I am becoming a better writer and a better photographer with each day. I am editing my book now, and sometimes I read a chapter that I wrote months ago and wonder: “Did I really write that?” I am simply amazed by how good it is.
You can change or stay the same….we can make the best or the worst of it: I am my own worst critic. Just today I was berating myself over a thought that flitted through my mind. I don’t remember what it was, only that it was judgmental, and I thought less of myself for having it. Perhaps I should cut myself some slack, but then I wouldn’t be growing as a person. And becoming the best person I can be is what life is all about.
I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before: Ah, the holy grail. I want to see everything. Go everywhere. Meet people who touch me to the core. Help others. I want to be startled, moved to tears, inspired, ecstatic. And I am. Today I walked home from downtown Sarasota during golden hour, those few minutes every afternoon when the sun drops low and turns everything a rich, golden hue. The clouds were so perfect they looked unreal; the sky, a shimmering blue. Birds twittered on telephone lines. People in the shops waved to me and I smiled back delightedly. When things are this intense, this crisp, I know I am fully present and living in the moment.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view: I have spent the better part of my life trying to win people over to my point of view but over the past year, something has shifted. My beliefs and value system haven’t changed, but I am no longer so attached to being right. Suddenly, it is possible to honor others for their beliefs and to listen to their points of view without judgment. It’s much easier to come from this place – makes me feel that a huge burden has been lifted.
I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again: I wasn’t always proud of the life I lived. Fortunately, I found the strength to start all over again. Several times. I don’t often look back, for I find it too painful. I try to be fully present and look for signs along the way that confirm I am on the right path. Benjamin Button is one of the best signs I’ve ever seen that I am on the right path.
Pay attention to your dreams. Your hopes. Your desires and passions. Life is much too short. Live life now. Really live it. From my personal experience I can tell you that it is worth any sacrifice you must make to do so. And see the movie.