A week ago, a friend and I went to go see a screening of Harold and Maude.
I’d only seen the movie once before, when I was 13, and I got a lot more out of it this time. When I wasn’t distracted by Bud Cort’s really skinny legs (and how his body type was perfect for the skinny Italian suits of the era), I was amazed at the juxtaposition between the older woman so full of life and the young man avoiding it.
Not so surprisingly, I’ve been thinking a lot about death ever since the film. Actually, not so much death as how I want to live my life. It was one of those kick in the pants kind of moments. I thought of my graduation requirement psyche class in college where we wrote our own eulogy. The goal was to get us to see what type of person we wanted to be. I bullet pointed the assignment again this week. It reminded me of something I’ve been taught several times, yet it never seems to stick for long: Words are cheap; Actions show your true priorities.
That was it! I pulled out a pen and made a to do list (I love lists!). I was done saying things are important and not doing them. I either had to schedule something now or simply take it off the list of things to do. I didn’t even place a judgement on those things. They simply weren’t as important to me right now as I thought. Why waste time beating myself up over things I didn’t want to do anyway?
Some were easy tasks that I’d put off for whatever reason (why on earth didn’t I schedule that massage appointment earlier?!?!?), and others involved breaking down seemingly overwhelming projects into manageable tasks. Lately I’d felt like a hamster in wheel – working really hard and not getting anywhere. This let me focus.
I began a bit Harold and ended up quite Maude. That made me really happy.
I’d actually started writing my will before the movie, but it inspired me to finish it. I also updated my Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, a separate one for finances, and signed the forms for full body donation to my local medical school. Wow, moving those things from the worry pile into the done pile took a huge weight off me!
From there I went into full-on planning mode. (Happy Tammy!) What fun and exciting things was I going to do? What skills was I going to learn next? Ideas flew out of my head and onto electronic stickies (I do love corkboard.me). Just seeing all these fun and interesting things I came up with made me smile! I broke them down into tasks and scheduled them. Just as I don’t learn well from e-courses, I don’t tend to do things without a deadline. I was so looking forward to getting started that I did four items in the first week!
Okay, so this is very much a Tammy-fied version of Maude, but to me it is all about being happy and enjoying life.
Is your life more Harold or Maude at the moment? Have any of my readers never seen the cult classic? What makes you feel alive?