Friday, December 3, 2010

Don't Fast Forward

If only life had a fast forward button.

I couldn’t agree more at the text I read from a good friend the other day. She, like me, is “on hold” in life. Like me, she can see the light at the end of the tunnel (which is actually just the beginning of a whole lot of newness, but I digress) but can also see everything that has to happen in the meantime. It’s frustrating. It’s, at times, very disheartening. I mean yes, life is a journey and I really am grateful for every day of it. But it’s scary. This whole life overhaul thing is not for the faint of heart.

My friend and I both have moments where we wish we could pick up a life remote and hit the fast forward button… not for long, just until we’re relocated, unpacked, adjusted…stable.  Stability isn’t something either of us has known for quite some time. That’s mostly our decision, as she and I both knew early on in life that the 9 to 5 lifestyle would never be ours. But just to fast forward until we can breathe again would be wonderful.

Last Saturday, my husband and I were having a “date night in” because we’d just returned from Thanksgiving in Yakima and couldn’t really afford a date night out. I don’t mind staying in, but I was still annoyed. Our budget has been crazy since the road trip and I didn’t like not at least have the option to go out for Italian food and a movie or knowing when I could again. This is one area where I crave stability. I longed to reach for that life remote and fast forward to after our move to Seattle to a time when we knew what our rent was, what our bills would be and had a real budget again. Instead of the life remote, I picked up the TV remote.

I believe in coincidence, but I also believe in fate. The movie Click with Adam Sandler was just beginning. I’d seen it before and remembered really enjoying it so I thought I may as well watch it again. And I quickly remembered just why we don’t actually get life remotes. Because when we fast forward through the bad, we miss out on all the good that goes with it. When we focus only on the future, we miss all the beautiful things about our present. And even when we’re in the depths of despair, frustrated or stressed out, there still are beautiful things about the present.

In case you haven’t seen Click, Adam Sandler plays the role of Michael, a busy employee of a large corporation and working so hard for a much-anticipated promotion, he has no time for his (way out of his league, by the way) wife and their kids. He goes to Bed, Bath & Beyond one night and actually does get one of those fancy life remotes. And at first, it’s awesome… he can fast forward through arguments with his wife and anything he finds unpleasant as well as revisit his past. But Michael gets out of control with the remote and accidentally ends up missing his entire life and losing the people who matter most to him.

I actually got tears in my eyes at the part where he grabbed the remote and whispered, “I can’t take it anymore. Fast forward me to when I get promoted.” Michael is so upset in that scene because he wants something so badly and has worked so hard for it, but it seems continuously just out of his reach. He can’t take the long hours, the stress, the disappointment in his families’ eyes anymore. He just wants to fast forward the bad and get to the good. That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling lately. What I wouldn’t give to be able to grab that thing, fast forward, and just relax already.

Except that deep down I don’t want to miss the bad and the scary, even to get to the good. I’d miss too much good mixed in with the bad. Yes, this being on hold things sucks, as does being powerless about a lot of things that simply have to work themselves out. But I also will never forget the way this feels and that will motivate me to work hard to ensure I never feel this way again. I’d miss the last few months living in close proximity to some truly amazing people I won’t get to see enough after we move. I’d miss the last mornings waking up in my blue bedroom I was so proud to decorate that will soon be replaced by white apartment walls I don’t get to paint. I’d miss more chances to drink Oval Office flavored martinis and eat the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had, anywhere (even, dare I say, better than anywhere in Seattle).

 If I fast forward to my new life, I’ll miss the life I have now… which, at one time, was the exact life I wanted. And even though times are tough, tempers are flaring and there’s a lot of anxiety… it’s still a pretty great life. And I’ll think of that as I’m surrounded by my friends tonight who are coming over for one last epic basement party to help rid our bar of all the alcohol we don’t want to carry with us to our new life.

At the end of Click (sorry to spoil it for you but really, if you haven’t seen it by now, that’s not my fault), Michael is miraculously given another chance at life. I was so relieved the first time I saw the movie because I expected it to really be over for him. After all, real life doesn’t work that way. We’re born, we live, and we die, and how we spend the time in between is up to us. No sooner had I finished the movie than an old song popped into my head. I’ve always liked it, but the message really resonated with me. As bad as you want to fast forward… through the monotony of your daily routine, through suffering and heartache, through life’s downright unpleasant moments… don’t. Live them all. I’m writing this post at a very scary time in my life to remind myself, because no matter what happens, I know it will be worth it in the end.

“Getting There” by Terri Clark

Written by Terri Clark

Well the sun sets in the west 
But as fast as you go, how would you know 
You're a busy boy, I guess 
Who just wants the gold at the end of the road 
Think of all you miss 
Passing through like this 

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer 
You want to land the moment you're in the air 
Baby the living is all in the getting there 

Don't be the first in every line 
Now and then you can be at the end 
'Cause there's only so much time 
And you can't get back every minute you spend 
You're not even sure 
What you're running for 

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer 
You want to land the moment you're in the air 
Baby the living is all in the getting there 

Think of all you miss 
Passing through like this 

You want an answer as soon as you say a prayer 
You want to land the moment you're in the air 
Baby the living is all in the getting there 

The living is all in the getting there 
Getting there 


Carm said...

Oh Jess...I can certainly relate to this post. Sometimes, I remember though, that it's the moments that we want to fast forward through that teach us the best life lessons - even if that means that someday, you simply say, "Remember how hard it was back then?" Hoping things smooth out for you soon and I can't wait to have you closer. I hope to have a visit really soon.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jess...this time last year I was in a VERY similar place. Living in limbo can be really painful, with so many instances of wanting to push that fast-forward button. Some of the best advice I got (from a Living Joyfully lifecoach) was to do things to ensure I was living 'in the moment' as often as possible. Stopping to notice minute detail in those moments you get most frustrated should help you find Joy even in the midst of the frustration.
Now that I'm on the "other side" of that tunnel, I realise that we are truly never fully settled anyhow - always growing, changing, striving for, as you said, try to enjoy all the good that comes with this 'bad' stuff as you'll undoubtedly have brilliant memories (and entertaining content)!! :) xoxo

Annie Boreson said...

What a beautiful post! I wish you so much happiness in your move to Seattle. This is one of those posts that melts your heart...even if you did ruin the end of the movie! :)

Peabea said...

Mostly as I look back now at my age in the 60's and how fast I actually did get here, your post is 'right-on' in saying just enjoy and live through the moment. Best of luck as you do move.

Laurie Boris said...

Jen, I love this, and I can really relate. I want to push "fast-forward" RIGHT NOW to the part when we are ALL earning a steady income again. Trying to stay in the moment, for me, helps find the little gems in Limbo Land. Every day I try to make note of what I would have missed - the flock of turkeys in my backyard, a chance meeting with a good friend - if I chose not to embrace life. I've started keeping a small journal of tiny joys - however small - so I can remember them and turn a bad mood around. One day I will look back on this time with gratitude for the lessons it taught me.

MOM said...

I loved that movie! It even got the hub to do a little thinking. He's always saying one day, or when they get older and that movie really got him to think about the here and now if only for a bit.
I know it must be tough not knowing what comes next and anticipating but slow down, enjoy this crazy time with your husband and the future will get here soon enough! Big hugs! Well done girl!

JessicaLee said...

Thank you everyone. :) I'm glad this post resonated with you! Such a simple message, slow down and enjoy life no matter what's happening, but seeing it so clearly in that movie really hit home. Sorry I ruined the ending, Annie. ;) Anj, I think you're right... there's really no such thing as being settled, so you may as well enjoy each day.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. And I still want to see Click. ;)

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