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Today I tweeted an update “Age is not a number, it is an attitude. What age are you really?” It is funny how that tweet came to my head and then this evening I watched the Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the first time. A movie that actually defines this very idea.
Benjamin Button understood the truth to life- that we are dying one day at a time. A truth that no one remembers to tell you every day; a truth that should be told to you every day so that you understand life is here to be lived fully.
Benjamin Button understood this truth because he had an unusual condition that made him question and seek answers. A condition that separated him from everyone else, and with the separation came the ability to see the world through different eyes. Benjamin started his life out as an old man. This is how the world perceived him unaware that inside he was just a young boy. And because of that aged facade he was not shielded from the truth to life.
Benjamin knew that life had to be savoured every step of the way and lived with reckless abandon. And although the movie was a work of fiction, an incredible far fetched one at that, I was moved to tears by the passion with which he lived his life, the kindness he displayed to everyone, the wonder that lived through him with each new moment, and with how deeply he loved. He understood aging and death and so understood life completely. You cannot fully know one without knowing the other.
Our time here on earth is limited, we will eventually die at a time none of us will ever know, and we will have to witness those we love passing through our lives. Benjamin’s condition made him aware that “life is a series of intersecting lives and incidents, out of anyone’s control. You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You could swear, curse the fates, but when it comes to the end, you have to let go.”
Life is about letting go to the dramas of our life that seem to consume so much of our time and instead taking that new energy that comes with the letting go and putting it into loving deeply and living passionately.
Benjamin Button knew that “Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.“ The question we need to ask ourselves every day is how am I letting the opportunities of the day define my life? What ones am I missing that I should be taking?
“Some people, were born to sit by a river. Some get struck by lightning. Some have an ear for music. Some are artists. Some swim. Some know buttons. Some know Shakespeare. Some are mothers. And some people, dance.” What is it that you were born to do?
My favourite part of the movie came when he left his daughter and wife, Daisy, knowing that he was getting younger and Daisy could not raise 2 children. Tears streamed down my face at this part of the movie (I can’t watch anything like this that involves parents and children and not cry now I am a mum) He writes a postcard to his daughter every year with a statement of how much he wished he could be with her. On one postcard, as he travels around the world as a now young adult, he writes
“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 is never to late to start living.
What age are you really and why?