I’m pulling out a blog post from May 16, 2012. Even though it’s about a movie, it’s not really a review (though it’s a great movie). It’s more about what I learned while watching it, and what I try to remember when life seems too stressful.
“Take the newspaper. What does it say? All bad, it’s all bad. People’ve forgotten what life is all about. They’ve forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded about what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!” ~Leonard Lowe~
That quote is from one of my favorite movies, Awakenings.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of watching this, it’s one of those stories that will grab your interest from the start. You’ll laugh, you’ll smile…and you’ll have to make sure to lay in a good supply of tissues. In my opinion, Robin Williams was outstanding. And Robert De Niro…what can I say? He nails every role I’ve ever seen him play, and this was no exception.
For those who aren’t familiar with it, Awakenings was based on a true story. It’s about a group of patients who had been catatonic for decades following an encephalitis lethargica epidemic. One summer, thanks to the drug L-Dopa, these patients awaken and appear to be healed. You can’t help but be happy for all of them, especially for Leonard Lowe, who was just a boy when he got sick.
Leonard really touched my heart during this movie. Instead of focusing on the things he’d missed out on…and he missed out on a lot, he wanted to experience everything he could. His attitude was so amazing it just made me want to stand up and cheer for him.
This boy/man had had most of his life stolen from him, yet he didn’t dwell on it, or get bitter or angry. He chose to live in the moment. To see the good. To live his life to the fullest.
Sometimes I think about Leonard when the responsibilities and headaches of life seem to be getting heavier than usual. When I’m not getting enough sleep, or when my to-do list is never ending. Even as I cross a few items off, there are other things that have to tacked on before the ink is even dry. I develop an acute case of tunnel vision…focusing only on the things that seem to be sucking the energy right out of me. It’s then that I need is a healthy dose of Leonard’s childlike excitement and enthusiasm.
Leonard’s doctor learned from him…
“That the human spirit is more powerful than any drug. And that is what needs to be nourished. With work, play, friendship, family. These are the things that matter. This is what we’ve forgotten. The simplest things.” ~Dr. Malcolm Sayer~
When I get to that place, it’s because I’ve forgotten to nourish the part of me that needs it the most. And I have to take a step back and do something just for me. A night out to watch a movie with my daughter. A long drive, listening to my favorite music. Maybe something as simple as a relaxing bubble bath, or laying in bed a little longer to listen to the birds singing outside my window (as opposed to dragging myself out of bed and grumbling about them disturbing my sleep with all their noise).
I forget that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anything…or anyone…as well as I should. And if I don’t focus on the little things, I’ll take everything for granted.
What do you do when you realize that you’ve gotten to the place where you don’t feel joy anymore? When life just seems like a burden you have to endure?
My favorite scene…