Saturday, February 25, 2012

What's your ideal life?

Do you ever wish that you lived in a different time or place?  That your "ideal" life is somewhere quite different than where (or when) you are actually living?  Or maybe it isn't so much wishes and regrets but rather just wondering what another type of living would be like?

That's more or less the concept of Woody Allen's film "Midnight in Paris"...and its had my mind spinning for the past few days.

A quick synopsis:  Our main character Gil, a screenwriter from Hollywood, is enamored of 1920 Paris.  The ideal life...a time of great writers, artists and musicians in an amazingly beautiful and inspiring city.  Every night at midnight he "magically" gets transported to this ideal 1920 Paris life where he meets and hobnobs with the likes of Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Elliot, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, etc.  But most importantly he meets a girl (Picasso's mistress, no less) and falls in love.  But 1920 Paris, as beautiful as it is, is not her ideal life.  1920 is her present and to her, it is not ideal, exciting or inspiring at all.  Her ideal is 1890 Paris. 

I am pretty lucky.  I am living a happy and contented life with the people I love most.  And beyond that I have great opportunities, fulfilment and friends.  That being said, I sometimes wonder about another kind of life.  When I visited NYC with Bryan this past May, my heart opened up and took in that great city.  The architecture, the history, the culture, the lights, the busy-ness, the people.  Oh, how I loved NYC!  It was my kind of place, I felt.  I am a city girl, I told myself.  It felt, strangely enough, like home.  The city truly inspired me.  What if Bryan and I had moved to NYC when we first got married?  What if I used my history degree to work in one of the many museums or historical sites?  What if I performed in Broadway shows?  What if I went running in Central Park and lived in a Brownstone on 5th Avenue?  (Yeah right...dream big, Sarah.)  But what if?  What if all of this was my present?  Would I find myself eventually wishing and wondering about another kind of life? Would I wish for wide, open spaces?  Would I wish for a bigger house rather than a smaller apartment?  Would I wish for mountains and nature and a garden to dig in?  Would I wish for a simpler and slower kind of life away from the constant noise and lights and hurry, hurry, hurry?  In essence, would my ideal be THIS life here in suburbia Utah?

The moral of the story, I suppose, is to live your ideal life in your present.  Take your present and find or notice the things that make it ideal.  That sliver of a moon shining just above that bare, leafless tree against the dark sky as you are walking through the Target parking lot?  Stop and savor it for a moment.  The vocal harmony or instrumental chord progression that makes your heart skip a beat in that song you are listening to on your ipod?  Rewind it and listen to it again.  That little voice that calls out, "Mom...come wake me up" each morning?  Go find the 4 year old body that the little voice is attached to and snuggle it for a few minutes before getting it some breakfast.

Who would've guessed that a Woody Allen movie would affect me so entirely.  But what I've come away with is the desire to look for those details, those moments...and to let them inspire me and fill my soul.  And to reaffirm that living in my present is more than just being happy and is truly ideal.      

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