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11.21.2011

LOOKING BACK BUT LIVING FORWARD

I watched part of the movie "Benjamin Button" last night.  It is a long movie.  I think the editors should have cut some scenes to shorten it and to eliminate a few that really didn't serve a purpose.  The problem is that the previous time I watched this movie, I watched it over the course of 3 nights while using my sister's treadmill so I was unaware how LONG it really was!  Even though I am critiquing its length, the concept is brilliant.  The take on aging and reversing it to highlight the common enormity of it is very creative.  If you have not seen the movie you will need a five gallon tub of popcorn for its nearly 3 hour length.  My suggestion is a two-part viewing.  In the movie, Benjamin, for whatever reason that is never fully disclosed, is born both physically and inwardly chronologically old.  The story line is about his journey from being born in his 90's as an infant in New Orleans in the year 1918.  He was left on the doorstep of a retirement home found by a black woman who worked there.  His growing up, or growing younger years, was spent in this old people's home.  He observed and developed relationships with people who were nearing the final leg of their lives.  There are three quotes in the movie that I think are very relevant, very descriptive:


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.


It was a wonderful place to grow up (in the old people's home). 
I was with people who had shed
all the inconsequences of earlier life. 
Left wondering about the weather,
the temperature of a bath, 
the light at the end of a day.


Life can only be understood looking backward. It must be lived forward.


I love what the movie shows us about aging.  Its joys, its sorrows, its explorations, its eureka moments, and ultimately its limitations.  When something that is common is set in an uncommon way we are more able to see its separate threads.  That is exactly what "Benjamin Button" does.  It reminded me again that nearly 5 months ago it was the 4th of July and in another 6 months it will be Memorial Day all over again.  It reaffirmed to me that to live fully is the best way to live.  I have choices in so many things in my life.  The passage of time is not one of them.

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