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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Remembering to laugh

It's a Saturday night. It's a little past 7 PM and nothing exceptional is going on, nothing particular happened today except when I walked to the a 7/11 a block from the apartment and bought a soda. I mention this because at the same 7/11 I bought a movie that I watched on one of my trips to Florida and have thought about many times since. I was particularly excited to pick up a used copy for $6.99 at a place I least expected - isn't that how it goes in life? The movie was "Sunshine," a sci-fi film about the sun dying and earth possibly going extinct if a team of scientist fails their mission, etc. etc. It is a phenomenal film that I highly suggest (and I know Lucas would back me up on this :) ) anyone who enjoys an end-of-human-civilization-on-earth type movie.

I bring this all up because I have had a rough couple of days and in an odd scene during the first few minutes of the film I found a weird sensation of peace. My days have not been rough in any other sense of the word than trouble finding peace, happiness, general contentness with my life the last couple days, no months, no a lot longer than that. I have no job, no structure, no purpose to my days. It's just been the past couple days/nights that I have had dreams that I am killed - a slit throat, tortured to death by being water boarded, bit by a rattlesnake in the middle of a desert, etc. My friends have no sympathy of my long, unproductive days because they work everyday. They come home to deal with the day to day chores, go to bed, get up and do it all over again tomorrow. They also do not see or understand my envy that they have figured out what they are supposed to do, or at least what they need to do right now. I can't figure out what to do for more than five minutes of my day other than to run and they all have jobs, careers or school that consume most of their days. I don't understand why anyone would envy me - I have 24 hours in a day to think, which can be as bad as torture by water boarding some days.

Anyways, in the first five minutes of the show a fight breaks out and a member of the crew talks to the ships shrink, "It's the time. Sixteen months you can get used to anything, you just loose track. . . From now on I'm not going to loose track again." The shrink makes him go to the "Earth room" a simulated reality where three people are standing on a ledge while waves crash up against the railing (presumably a viewing point for Niagara Falls or something similar). Why do I bring this up? Because the crew member was right - sixteen months and you can get used to anything and forget things that are important. You don't have to be in space. You don't have to be away from civilization or confined to a limited space. We all loose track of time. It's how we survive our days. More important, in that simulated reality of the crashing waves in a two dimensional movie I realized that I forgot how to forget time and reality. I forgot how to laugh at the simple pleasures in life and therefore I forgot how to live at all. I somehow got so lost in my real time that I forgot what is important - the lack of time.

How is it that children have a wonderful way of loosing themselves in a magical world with no restriction of time or reality, but adults are so constrained by it? What happens in between? Where does that lackadaisical appreciation for the absolute, most simple things in life go? Did we loose track of time or did we loose track of life? When did I forget the simple joy of laughing at a crashing wave splashing me with water or jumping in a pool on a 100 degree day or feeling the sunshine sneak through the window and warm up my skin while I take a nap on a lazy afternoon? When did I forget how to laugh at nothing at all? When did I complicate my own life by worrying about how I spend my days rather than just spending them? I don't know? I fear it's too late to stop worrying now. Is this what it means to be a grown-up? To forget the simple days. I fear, as I fear the end of Earth as I watch the Sun die in the movie, that maybe it's too late. I'll turn 28 in two weeks and all I want to do is go back to a time when I could sit in our 'circle yard' the with our border collie, Sam, and watch the clouds for what seemed like eternal summer afternoons. Now, I realize how delicately numbered each one was.

Maybe there is a reason I enjoy watching the human race struggle for survival in movies. Maybe I'm struggling for my own survival or survival of what is, no was, important once upon a time.

The movie is "Sunshine" directed by Danny Boyle. It is a wonderful film that will take you far from your own reality if even for a few, precious hours.

I guess after rereading this all I'm wondering is why I can't just be happy with what I have the way I was when I was a kid? What in the hell has changed?

Me. I changed. Now how the fuck do I change back? I'll start with remembering how to laugh.


  1. Don't worry Libby, we all want to go back to the simpler days of childhood. I hope you find something that you enjoy doing soon. I know you will excel at whatever you choose to do. I send you peace, I hope it finds you :)

  2. Why are the older days always seem to be the good days? People say good old days will never come back. But after few days you look at today and find something happier than that day. Its always that way so at least we are happy about our past :)