I learned from a sweet little movie called About Time a very powerful message about to find happiness in our lives. The story is about a family with the ability to travel back in time. On the son’s 21st birthday, he is told about the power and how to use it. For the first half of the movie, this young man uses his ability to have do-overs. Can you remember your teens and early twenties? Are there words you wish you hadn’t said? Are there sentiments you wish you had? Did you have an awkward moment you wish to erase? Were their opportunities you would have seized? Were there choices you would have changed? Where their conflicts you would have handled differently? Every imaginable situation occurs as the lead character tries to perfect every moment of his life. Then the movie turns from romantic comedy to something deeper. It teaches us two important points about life: the necessity of living with the bad to get the good and the secret formula for happiness, living deliberately.
Living With the Bad for the Good
In the movie, we learn that if the time traveler goes back in time before his child is conceived that the baby will turn out differently. A hard choice has to be made between allowing a beloved child to be born or rescuing a dear family member from injury. If he goes back to fix a bad situation, he loses his good situation, his child. The lesson is that sometimes we have to accept the bad in life to get our ultimate joy. In the long run, sometimes the bad that happens is a wakeup call for a difficult lesson or a turning point which will become our purpose to teach and help others grow. Acceptance of some of the less than enjoyable situations may actually be allowing us to receive the good in our lives.
Toward the end of the movie, his father who has lived fully due to his time travel ability shares the secret formula of life. Unlike the first part of the movie, where the ability is used to try to make each encounter perfect, the father recommends living the day like everyone else. Experiencing all of the worries, stress, and issues which “keep us from noticing how sweet the world can be.” Then secret is then going back and reliving the same day, but noticing the joy, love, beauty, and miracle during each moment of that day – without changing it. Eventually the lead character learns that he doesn’t have to relive his day to see the sweetness of life, but that he simply needs to live each and every day deliberately to find the wonder.
Try it today. Instead of focusing on your worries and fears, look around you. What is beautiful? How can you find the humor in the moment? How can you gift another? How can you maximize each and every moment? I can not show you how to time travel, but through acceptance and awareness, you can surround yourself with an amazing life.