Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions: Really Good Advice From A Really Bad Movie

I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions, probably because they usually end almost as soon as they start. I know this from going to the gym, which is always packed right after the first of the year. It drives me nuts, but I always have to remind myself that all these New Year's Resolution types will be gone by March (at the latest), so I only have to cope with them for 2 - 3 months. I've made resolutions myself, and I always hate myself for doing it because I always feel like such a loser when I can't live up to them (not that failure is a bad thing, right?).
One thing I do believe in is change, and I have to say that I have made some major changes in my life that I am really proud of. One was when I was 30 pounds heavier than I am right now and wasn't really doing anything to change it, and I was sitting at home with a migraine one day and told myself "I'm sick of this B.S.," and joined Weight Watchers (that's right, Weight Watchers) the next day and never looked back. It was hard, but I lost the weight I wanted, and I have kept it off ever since making the decision (except for the baby weight after having Jack, and that came off with Weight Watchers too).
Another change I just made recently was how we eat dinner together as a family. I have to say I was inspired by Mirjam, who is the Queen of All Mothers, and makes amazing food for her kids and seems make dinner special every single night. Our dinner routine had devolved into sitting at the counter in the kitchen and just getting through it. I decided one day I wanted to set the table, sit at the table, and actually talk to each other for dinner. I just decided, and that night we did it. And I make at least one vegetable for every meal. Of course it is much better now, and all I needed to do is stop being so lazy and make a little effort. I love the conversations we have at dinner, and I am really enjoying making something special almost every night (we still eat leftovers a couple nights a week).
All this thought of silly resolutions vs. permanent change made me think of a terrible movie I saw a few years ago. You probably remember Vanilla Sky, the remake of Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes), written and directed by Cameron Crowe, one of my favorite film makers. Well, the movie sucked, mostly due to the fact that I had seen the original Spanish version before which was like a totally different movie, but also because this movie became way too Hollywood slick, and definitely lost something in the translation. One thing I loved about this movie (probably the only thing, actually) was a line Penelope Cruz's character says to Tom Cruise's character: "Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around". It's not reason enough to rent the movie, but thanks to You Tube, you can see the silly scene it comes from absolutely free of charge:

I like to think of this quote this time of year, because I hate to see people (myself included) fail at the very things they need to change the most. I love to remember that there is never only one time in a year, in a day, or even in an hour that we can change, but in every second, in every moment, our lives can become more what we want them to be. So, if you want my advice, save yourself the agony of resolutions this year, and instead see the potential each of us have in every waking moment. And promise me that you will value those moments enough to never see Vanilla Sky.