My boyfriend and I had one of those rare weekends where we caught up on everything we’ve been meaning to do. We went places we wanted to go, we ate food we wanted to try, and we spent time with people we wanted to spend time with (mostly each other, but also ourselves.)
In a rare twist of events, we even had time to watch a movie. Of course, we had to watch it in two parts because you can’t survive a two hour movie when your bedtime during the week is an hour before sunset. But, somehow, with plenty of caffeine, we made it through the sci-fi/rom-com About Time, a movie we had been wanting to see since it was in theatres. Incredibly and ironically, we hadn’t had time to watch it before then. Even more ironically, it definitely was about time we watched it; it was very good.
We settled in for Rachel McAdams’s girl-next-door charm and Bill Nighy’s typically convincing but also rather creepy performance. I was drawn in by the quirky romance, while my boyfriend, I suspect, was waiting for the banana peel to fall and the romantic part to fade away into the comedy aspect.
The plot centers around a young man, played by Domhnall Gleeson, who is told quite unceremoniously about 15 minutes into the movie that all of the men in his family can travel in time. Suddenly, he has the gift that every dorky, quiet person (which he portrays) has ever dreamed of: the ability to start over at any point in a conversation. He keeps the memory of what has happened previously, but no one else has any idea, except his father. As a romantic comedy, you can guess the hilarity that ensues. Boy meets girl, boy messes up his one-liner to girl, boy runs away only to come back to suavely pose the one-liner again to girl with much better results.
But, being as vague as possible, the ending surprised us. Towards the last half hour, the movie did not bear any resemblance to the goofy rom-com we signed up for. It turned strangely dark, albeit with a purpose.
To sum up its concluding moral: you should live every day like you have to relive that day tomorrow. Confused?
Then let’s explore this for a moment. What do most of us do? We trudge along. We put our heads down. We tell ourselves this mantra, “It’s Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday. And if I can get through Tuesday, I can get through Wednesday. And if I can get through Wednesday, I can drink four Starbucks coffees to get me through Thursday and Friday. And then it’s the weekend. And I’ll be blissfully happy for two days.”
But what if you had to relive today? Would you moan and whine about the coffee you spilled on yourself, the traffic you experienced, and the absolute rushed madness of your life? Or would you already be expecting all of those difficult parts of your day, and so you would be able to take the time to slow down and relish the finer points?
Essentially, we congratulate ourselves for the days we can get through instead of the days we can enjoy. So, I have a challenge for you. Try living tomorrow like you have to relive the whole day again. What would you do differently to ensure that you had a pleasant experience the first and second time? Would you slow down to appreciate more things? Or would you speed up to get to all of the good parts? We can’t time travel (yet), so we can’t undo or redo all of those embarrassing and difficult moments we may experience. But we can learn from them.
And it’s about time we all started to do exactly that.
Because what is life?
It’s all about time and what we do with it.