What it means to live in “the spectacular now”

I just saw a movie with my husband, The Spectacular Now. I’ve never heard of it before, and I think I’ve only seen previews once. Anyway, it’s rated really high on Rotten Tomatoes for good reason. It’s not a typical superficial teenage coming- of- age story, quite the opposite actually, and it is done very elegantly.

The movie itself is captivating but the entire time I had no idea where it was going, what the main point would be, or how it tied to the title until the very end. At that point I felt like I had traveled a journey of personal growth with the main character, and maybe I really did because I felt very reflective at the end of the movie. It wasn’t a great situation for date night, but it was refreshing for me to think back to my teenage years.

I don’t want to give away some of the main dialogue of the movie so I won’t quote directly but at the end of the movie I was wondering if I actually embrace the good in my life- things, people, circumstances. Whenever we think of “carpe diem,” we think of pursuing actions/experiences that are amazing and extraordinary. But the whole point of the movie is to be appreciative of whatever is happening in life at this moment, whether it’s good or bad. Which got me thinking, am I mindful of things I should be grateful for, do I immerse myself in my relationships or am I too fearful? I decided I wasn’t a very mindful person;I don’t fully “live in the now,” if you will. To me, being mindful/living carpe diem goes beyond the actual science and involves cultivating an outlook that appreciates life and the people around me. As I’ve said before in my other posts, it’s not about what’s spectacular in my life, but what is ordinary in my life that is spectacular. Here are two examples of how I can groom my outlook to be more positive:

I think the best way for me to embrace the good in my life as it is now instead of lamenting what I lost in the past, or worrying about what I will have/have not in the future is to be grateful. Pathik and I started this thing where we would write three things we are grateful for everyday in a notebook and of course that habit never really set in but when I was doing it I was much happier, because I acknowledged what I had in my life- whether it be a supportive environment at work, a loving husband who helped me make lunch in the morning, or a massage chair to cure my aches and pains after work. The next step after listing what is grateful is to show my  gratefulness- call my friends/family, do something for my husband, or just be plain happy that I have a massage chair. I could’ve had a terrible day at work lifting heavy people but I have a massage chair. And a foam roller. My roller really helps me look at life a little more positively 😉

Thinking positively is easier when a person feels connected to the people around him/her. Feeling happy is much easier when you feel loved and feel like you have a reason to be happy, that the world is genuinely a good place. Sometimes, though, I think we just don’t realize how lucky we are in that how many people are in our lives who truly love us/ would be there for us. For me, that awareness comes from being mindful of my relationships, keeping up with them, and “being there” for the people I care about- what goes around, comes around. Being so mindful is not always so easy, especially when it’s a lot easier for me to be introverted. I was always told in high school that I am too guarded of a person. I never really knew what that meant, until I realized that nobody could really describe me as a person, since I never shared my opinions/feelings. I’m not promoting being pretentious , but I do think its a good habit to be honest in your everyday life. For example, if somebody asks “how are you, don’t just say “i’m good” reflexively- actually think about what is going on in life that you can share. And I think it’s best to assume people genuinely care. My high school anthropology teacher always said “I believe the best in people unless I have reason to believe otherwise”- great words to live by.

I’ll end this post here before it rambles on too much. *Disclaimer*: I finished this post almost a full year before I started it, so I didn’t just watch the movie, but I am excited to see The Fault in Our Stars also starring Shailene Woodley, and also slotted to be an epic movie about what it means to truly live a good life. I like that the theme of young adult movies has progressed to reflecting on the meaning of life from equating teenage romance to harmful vampire obsessions.

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