By: Whitney Millard, Guest Blogger
I have an irrational phobia of the movie UP. Not of UP exactly, of it’s beginning. Please do not misunderstand, it’s a stunning piece of art, with so much heart I can barely take it. But I relate a little too intensely. I feel it maybe a little too deeply. (If you’ve not seen it and fear spoilers it might a good time to skip to the bottom.)
Though she’s probably only in the movie for all of 15 minutes, Ellie’s story is unshakeable to me. She is a hopeful adventurer, imaginative, and fun. She marches to her own fantastic beat, and Carl just loves her. They have a beautiful life together as they get older. But her biggest dream, her dream of traveling like a real adventurer, never comes true. Every time they push their little rock up their proverbial mountain- save just about enough to travel- it just comes right back down-the roof needs to be repaired, the car needs new tires. Plus she isn’t able to have babies. I relate.
When I used to act a director called me out once for “playing the ending.” She said it was clear I (the actress) knew what was going to happen when she (the character) didn’t and couldn’t know it. It struck me as profound even then because that is exactly what I do. I play the ending. I worry about how it’s all going to turn out instead of ever being present with where I am. I’m even doing it with life itself. Living in fear that I won’t do and see and be all of the things that I want to before it’s too late.
Some days I feel like there is a giant conspiracy on how to make things as difficult and arduous as possible for me. Some days I have honestly wondered if the odds weren’t actually stacked against me. Don’t other people have it so easy? (Sheesh, I’m not proud of those days.) But if I take a second to actually consider that, really think about it, I see how ridiculous that sounds. (Not that it will stop me most of the time.)
I have countless examples (not little ones either) of the universe working totally and entirely to serve me, to show me the path I’m meant for, to protect me, to grow me. I haven’t always been given what I want but I absolutely, always get what I need. Because in my experience, if I don’t have something I probably can get by without it. (And that includes part of a second X chromosome.)
Bad things, unforeseen things, may happen but we can’t live in constant fear of them anymore. Or I can’t. Anxiety over an obituary I’ll never hear anyway doesn’t seem like good incentive to rush through my life, to be completely absent from my experience. I haven’t been protected thus far because I’ve been afraid. I sometimes worry I see my fear like a shield, that it makes me overly cautious and keeps the bad things away. That’s just not true though. It’s because the universe has our backs. It is working to lift us up and if we got out of own ways long enough it would do just that. So let’s work on being where we are, when we’re there. I think that’s the first step.
Do you find yourself "playing the ending," as Whitney describes? We all have the tendency to rush ahead and get caught up in whatever's on the horizon. Give playing in the NOW a shot and tell us what you learn!
Whitney Millard is a writer in Los Angeles attempting to make sense of this crazy world and it’s wonderful people. She launched her blog, WhittyWords.com last fall to have a place to lay down her (perhaps too many) thoughts and feelings. You can usually find her any place that has books, a stage, or boba tea and potstickers.
image via sweatpantsandcoffee.com