Finally, this past weekend, I was able to find time to view the film I have been excitedly looking forward to Midnight in Paris (written and directed by Woody Allen). Being so used to having the ability with my DVR at home to pause, rewind and rewatch a scene or listen to a line that catches my attention, I found myself repeatedly frustrated that I was unable to do the same thing in the theater (surprise, surprise).
This frustration was a very good sign, as you might imagine, of how much I enjoyed the film.
At one point in the film when Own Wilson’s twenty-first century character is taken back to Paris of the 1920’s, he has a conversation with Ernest Hemingway, and Hemingway is quoted stating today’s point of inspiration shared above. Needless to say, I pondered this quote (and its source) the rest of the evening. What does it mean? Is there truth to be found? yada yada yada. (My mind, as my family and friends can attest to, never shuts off.)
After much contemplation, I began to examine my own life and assess those instances when I took risks. Substantial risks, or at least at the time, a risk that felt very substantial based on my circumstances. And I have to say, based on my own experiences, the decisions I’ve made that were risky and in hindsight cause the question, what was I thinking? to echo like a chorus, were also the decisions that reflected what I was passionate about, unabashedly so, and unapologetically so.
As each of us grow older we may find that we are less willing to take risks, to put all that we’ve worked so hard for on the line. Think about it for a moment. Most people become more protective as they advance in life of their assets, relationships and other vital aspects of their lives because they are more able to be grateful for the fortunate they have, appreciate the time and effort that went into creating what they now have, etc.
The opposite can be very telling as well. If after a handful of decades on this planet, one is willing to take a leap, a risk that will alter all that they worked for, there are two reasons that allow this to happen: one, they are not happy with how their lives have unfolded in some or all its details; or two, what they want now is something they are even more passionate about which can be very exhilarating.
True passion, whether it be for a person or a dream you hold for yourself, is something that you will cast aside fear to attain if you truly, truly love it.
While Hemingway (and Woody Allen for that matter) have their naysayers and disqualifiers, they pose an intriguing question that holds quite a bit of truth. Today’s quote is something to think about.
What or who do you love? What is most important to you? Others’ opinions, or achieving your dreams? What you pursue in life, how you live your life, reveals so much about your inner strength or your lack thereof.
But the good news for every body is that this inner strength that sometimes seems so elusive, is within reach for all of us. How, you may ask? First, get to know yourself, then discover what you are passionate about and figure out a way to incorporate it into your life. You can do it. You can cast aside your fears if you want it badly enough. Live boldly.