*Warning: Possible spoilers! I tried really hard to leave out the important plot points, but you may think otherwise…*
Last night, I watched the movie “About Time” starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, and Domhall Gleeson. It’s a cute and quirky story about a guy named Tim who finds out that the men in his family have the ability to travel back in time. Jealous, right? Me too. It works by stepping into a dark space like a closet, clenching his fists, and thinking of the exact moment he wants to return to. Instead of using his powers for the obvious things like money and furthering his career, his father advises him otherwise and tells him to use it for “the things that matter, the things that will really make a difference in your life. I’ve never met a genuinely happy rich person.”
So Tim decides he wants to use his new abilities to find himself a girlfriend – enter Rachel McAdams, as Mary. He follows his father’s advice and only goes back to fix the “important” things – like helping his roommate get his dignity back, making a better first impression on Mary’s parents, re-making his choice for his Best Man, and altering some pretty crucial, life-changing details after finding out that the past can change if you mess with it too much.
Eventually, he learns that happiness isn’t about re-doing everything over again so that it’s perfect – it’s about noticing the details right then and there, and to live life the first time as if you did go back to try and make everything worth it. It kind of took the phrase “live your life to the fullest” to a whole new level. When I hear that phrase now, it doesn’t mean go bungee jumping, sky diving, getting tattoos or driving in the fast lane – it’s making eye contact with people when you talk to them. Appreciating the beauty in things you take for granted. Sharing and showing your emotions instead of keeping them to yourself. Do what you really need to do because that moment really is the last time you’ll experience that moment. It’s nice to get a little reminder once in a while, because we really do lose track of life and forget to appreciate the little things.
Dan and I are big cuddlers. When we wake up, before we go to sleep, and even throughout the day – we’ll just “meet up” somewhere and cuddle. (Sorry Dan, I hope I’m not ruining your manly image.) We’re also big “I love you”-ers. Because – why not? Why not constantly tell the love of your life that you love them, even if they don’t need reminding? I really hope we don’t lose any of these moments when things get hectic with the baby, although I don’t see it happening. Moments like those are almost automatic for us, which I’m grateful for.
I also got a similar reminder a few years back, when I visited Disney World with my friend and her mother. It was only my second time going other than two years before that with 7 other friends back in 2007. It was different this time. I saw what I was missing for the past few years with my family. I never got to go on a Disney trip with my own parents, and here I was with another family, feeling terribly homesick. It also made me realize that I couldn’t remember spending that much time with them for a few years now. I got a job that became my life along with the people I worked with – spending 60 hours a week there and then hanging out with those same people outside of work. Moments with my family just passed me by. On that vacation, I took all of the money that I brought with me and used it to buy my family tons and tons of Christmas presents since the holidays were just around the corner. I know it wouldn’t bring back the time that I lost with them, but it was just something I felt like I needed to do. After I got back, I spent every day of the holidays with them, planning outings and bringing everyone together. They must have gotten sick of me, or thought I was going through some kind of needy phase – but it’s what I needed to do. Never again did I want to feel like I ran out of time to spend with the people I love.
You may have noticed the photo of two notebooks at the beginning of the post – those are my time machines. Years ago, I used to be a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (haha, how old am I now?) and Buffy’s best friend was Willow, played by
Lily Alyson Hannigan. I can’t remember the context, episode, or reason – but Willow mentioned something about her journals. She says if you don’t write down what happens to you, it just all gets lost. This really stuck with me. I’ve kept diaries all my life, but over the past 3 years, I’ve been writing entries in a day-to-day planner and trying to be really diligent about it. Some days I don’t have nearly enough room to document everything, and some days I just write down a funny quote that someone said that day, what I ate for dinner, or who I called on the phone. A few times a year, I miss some entries, and when I open the book up to those pages – I’m completely lost. What happened those days? What did I do? How did I feel? I like seeing my past documented. If the entire book was empty, I don’t know how I’d react. Last year when I went to Mexico, we were so busy that I didn’t have any time to write in my book until I got home. Even then – while it was still “fresh” in my mind – it was slowly starting to fade away. If I were to tell you right now how my trip went, I might be able to tell you a few stories, but it wouldn’t have any of the detail captured in those pages. And that’s why they’re my time machines. I can experience moments again as accurately as I chose to record them. To me, they are invaluable.
If you don’t already, try creating your own time machine. Find a notebook – it doesn’t matter how big or small, whether it’s dated or not, lined or not. Write in it a little bit each day. After a while – when you read back – you’ll start to realize how much you wouldn’t have been able to remember if it weren’t for the fact that you wrote them down.
Don’t lose your memories. Keep them safe and accessible to you, whenever you call on them.