It’s amazing how something as simple as a movie can leave a lasting impression on you. I only voted ‘Vertigo’ 7 pumpkins, yet its place as the starting film of many, and its position as one of the first steps on the road to middle age, have firmly cemented it within my very soul.
As of today, I will now have a lasting memory of ‘Vertigo’ but, more importantly, a lasting memory of this journey I have begun with my ‘Top 30 things to try before I’m 30′: A framed art print of the movie poster hanging proudly above our dining table:
“I hope they’re having pumpkin soup”
Looking at this picture really got me thinking… isn’t it these very little things that make up a life? Isn’t it these small choices that we make on a daily basis, such as which film to watch (or indeed, whether to watch a film at all) that make up the essence of our memories, the essence of who we are, and the essence of who we become?
Perhaps I have led a far too sheltered life, but I have faced few real challenges in these past 29 years. In fact, prior to 2011 my biggest dilemma was probably deciding whether to dub the year 2010 “two thousand and ten” or “twenty ten”. As many of you know, “two thousand and eleven” brough far greater challenges for my family, specifically having to sit by and watch my Dad go through the trauma of chemotherapy, surgery and (thank God) relative recovery. I wouldn’t wish such things on my worst enemy (and, Kieren Perkins, if you’re reading this, I really mean that!)
The one small kernel of goodness that comes from such a traumatic experience is that it brings new perspective, and with new perspective, we can enjoy new and greater happiness. I have my Dad to thank for this exciting list of challenges. I watched him stare death in the face and say “I’m off to France! Catch me if you can!” and it made me realise that life is too short to be content with a glass of wine and ‘Neighbours’ every weekday of the year (although I must confess those two guilty pleasures still give me far more satisfaction than they should!)
It shouldn’t take a near-death experience to make us realise the vast potential of the lives we have been blessed with, but all too often that’s exactly what it takes to “wake up and smell the coffee” (or, in my case, the Coca-Cola). It may sound strange but, for some reason, something as simple as watching the movie ‘Vertigo’ has made me feel more alive than I have in years. I think it’s because being truly alive doesn’t necessarily mean something as dramatic jumping out of a plane… it simply means continuing to grow, learn and experience new things every single day until we’re so full our hearts burst in our ninety-nine-year-old sleeps.
I will be the first to admit that it is unsustainable to place your perspective on the brink of death every single day just to get the buzz required to get through the day. Sometimes a glass of red wine and ‘Neighbours’ really is all you need. I think it’s fair to say, however, that we all have an inner voice that will tell us when enough is enough and we’re headed to Rutsville.
Why don’t we listen to our inner voices more? Is it because we can’t hear them over the din of ‘Big Brother’, or is it because we’re afraid they’ll try to throw us out of a plane?
I think we have to stop being afraid of our inner voices. My inner voice is kinda cool; She’s a lot calmer than me, and she’s full of great and fun ideas. Sometimes I try to silence her with foolproof arguments such as “I have no money” or “It’s raining” or “Toadie is about to reveal a secret!” but she just shrugs her imaginary shoulders and waits for me to come crawling back (which I invariably do).
Our inner voices, also known as our “instincts” always know us better than we do and they are usually far better at solving our problems than we give them credit for. If, like me, your problem is boredom or general malaise, they will surely have the cure. You might have to apologise for ignoring them for so long, but once you’ve made your polite reintroductions you’ll be all set for your exciting new adventure.
Perhaps I’m too easily pleased if I consider watching a 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film an “adventure”, but hey – it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve done on a school night in a very, very long time and it sure beats moping around the house repeatedly opening and shutting the fridge door as if the pumping action of opening and shutting said door will somehow produce cake.
I don’t profess to have the solution to all of life’s woes by any means, but I absolutely 100% guarantee you that if you step outside of your comfort zone, even just briefly, you will feel all the better for it. Indeed, as a wise (and very sexy) man once put it, “who knows, you might find something even more comfortable”.
As I have now learned, life is far, far too short to sit around going all “incredible hulk” with jealousy over other peoples’ lives and the exciting ways they choose to lead them. I will tell you right now that I have discovered their little secret… They were not born inherently more awesome than us average folks… they’re just really good listeners and have tuned in to those inner voices of theirs.
If you shut your eyes for a minute, still yourself and listen, you might hear your own… When you do, I think you should ask, “What new thing do you think I should try today?”
I take zero responsibility if it responds “Jump out of a plane”.
Is your inner voice cool like mine or is it kind of a jerk? What has you inner voice tried to convince you to do?