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I went to a movie tonight.
You’re probably saying, big deal. Who cares? People go to the movies all the time, and you’re right.
But not me.
I hadn’t been to a movie since 2010, the year bed bugs were becoming a national issue. No joke (my last movie outing that is, not the bed bug epidemic, which was also, no joke).
The last movie I went to in a cinema was “The Town,” in Framingham, Massachusetts. And like tonight, the memorable correlation was spontaneity. Again I’d not been to a movie in ages, worked too much, and didn’t think about such recreational pleasures.
At that time, I traveled for work 85 percent of my life and my socialization revolved around business events, customer dinners, and family. When I wasn’t doing that, I was sleeping—or rather, crashing and burning. I never viewed it as a sacrifice, I made it all work and thought I’d loved it. But looking back, it did cost me some things. I did share some memorable times with family and friends in between—vacations, milestone occasions, and other social events—but it’s all a blur today. But I was going 100 miles per hour at full speed with a limited sense of my true self.
Fast-forward in time and my title may have changed, but my work ethic is the same. Combine that and a long-term relationship with someone who wanted to do nothing, along with the COVID-19 years—this girl didn’t get out much.
But tonight, I went to the movies.
My parents stopped by for dinner and over meal conversations, my mother and I were suddenly signing up for movie tickets. I visited the site, navigated the clicks and selects, then found myself with movie tickets. Why not?
I found myself anxious at first—how can I do this? I had a night of work ahead of me. I couldn’t afford this time. The near reaction to say no was thwarted quickly when I contemplated and exhaled.
Life is short. I’m so fortunate to have my parents in my life. And I will get the work done—always do, always did—but somewhere along the line, I forgot how to live.
So tonight, I took a break and went to the movies with my mother. I walked into the theater and confessed to the young workers that I hadn’t been to the movie in 12 years and didn’t know what the heck I was doing—which kiosk do I go to? Where do they scan my QR code? Where do we find popcorn amongst the other gourmet counters? They were warm and compassionate kids, despite the chuckles and smiles.
I was blown away by today’s movie theater. No more sticky floors. No more flip seats. Such luxuries at our disposal.
Two ladies with a vodka bottle, chatting away.
A recliner with heated seats.
And loud. So loud. My mother was thrilled, while I still wonder if I’ll ever hear again.
What fun we had—because I allowed spontaneity to take charge. I said why not, let’s do it, because believe me, that suits my personality—or had at one time. It works for me and half of my family. Sometimes the other half.
But I’d lost sight of that, what that was like, and how much I loved it.
Tonight, I lived. May sound so small to you, but it was huge to me.
My father and I go out for breakfast weekly. I told my mother tonight that we will need, at minimum, a monthly movie date—previews were great (and so was the sinful, salty popcorn). My parents and I spend ample time together, but that will never be enough when I look back. Our special dates are aside from our daily visits. I cherish every moment.
I got back to work when my parents left this evening, but I was so grateful for the magic of spontaneity.
I spent many years with a partner who subtly and unknowingly extinguished my passion and desire to live—but I didn’t die. I buried the relationship, then I came back to life, in every way.
Never dismiss spontaneity. It’s magical.