Let me start off by saying that I never make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t have any interest in working out or eating healthier, though I probably should. If I made them, I would too easily let them fall by the wayside (which is usually what happens when I try to give up something for Lent). Well at the beginning of this year, I watched a movie that really made me think about what’s important in life, and that convinced me to create this simple but powerful resolution:
Be truly present in each moment, treasuring it and enjoying it as a precious gift.
I ended 2013 with my fiancé, Kenny–eating fish and chips, exploring the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), feeding a homeless person, going on a ghost tour, and finally ringing in the new year with friends at Arena, the local club. It was a beautiful day of which I have fond memories, and I thought it the perfect way to end a fantastic year. Then as morning dawned on 2014, I had to go to the hospital for a skin-related allergic reaction around my eyes. The joy of the previous day made for a striking contrast (and a grumpy me), and unfortunately I let a bad situation ruin my attitude for the rest of the day. Kenny, sweetheart that he is, tried to cheer me up by taking me out to dinner and splurging, ordering appetizers and dessert. That helped a bit.
Then I saw the movie About Time. Have you seen it? I figured it was just a normal rom-com featuring Rachel McAdams (who I adore), so I was excited to see it. I was not prepared, however, for the emotional sucker punch at the end, which hit me squarely in the “feels” and left both of us in quite a sorry state. Here is a line from the end of the movie which summarizes the moral of the story:
“I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time. And I’ve even gone one step further than my father did. The truth is, I now don’t travel back at all. Not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life. We’re all travelling through time together everyday of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.”
If I had the ability to time travel, I know there are many moments I would go back to try to fix, or just to improve my attitude. Life is too short to be mad at other people or to allow something trivial to bother you. Love your friends and family with reckless abandon, holding nothing back. This year, I want to be here for the people who count on me. I want to revel in each moment, even when I am alone. I may nap or just sit quietly, but I will not be bored! As Louis C.K. once ingeniously said: “I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”
I already know 2014 has great things in store for me: Family and friends will come visit me here, I will travel, I will write my dissertation (lots of stress will be involved, but it will be a great accomplishment), I will finish my studies at the University of Exeter, and I will return home to the States where I will get to see people I have missed so much…and start officially planning my wedding!
Among all the ups and downs that surely lie ahead, this year I resolve to be fully alive and present in every second.