“The only real failure is the failure to try. And the measure of success is how we cope with disappointment. As we always must. We came here, and we tried. All of us, in our different ways. Can we be blamed for feeling we’re too old to change? Too scared of disappointment to start it all again? We get up every morning, we do our best. Nothing else matters.” ~~ Evelyn Greenslade
Disclaimer: Can I just say this? When I grow up, I want to be as courageous as Evelyn Greenslade (played by one of my favorite actresses, Judi Dench). And I want to write as well as she does. Just want to get that out there up front. Also, this “Weekly ‘Why Not?'” is a little sappy. So, yeah. I hope you have had a chance to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel by now. I said there were no spoilers in Part 1, but I will be giving away parts of the movie here with Part 2. You have been warned!
Courage, purpose, bitterness: this list could go on for a few more lines and still not touch on all of the emotions and themes of this movie. I was surprised how many times I grabbed my cell phone and jotted down a quote while watching. These thoughts are my takeaway from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Evelyn’s husband died unexpectedly, leaving her not only alone, but also realizing just how much she didn’t know about him, about herself, about, well…much of anything — how to pay the bills, how to change the phone service, how to make a plane reservation, how to take the next step on her own. Despite this, she somehow found the courage to sell everything, leave her son and grandchildren, and risk starting over in India. I don’t think she went looking for adventure; I think she just needed to find a place where she could stand without being held up by loving family who didn’t realize they were holding her down.
I want to grab hold of her conviction: courage and joy are characteristics of all seasons of life and not capped at certain ages. “Why Not?” live a little more boldly today, this week, this month? What could happen if you do?
When my grandmother was unable to get around and physically do as much for others as she once could, she still needed to contribute. We all need to contribute. Nana started her own little “encouragement” ministry. She once told me, “I can’t stand for hours in the kitchen, I can’t go and do all the things I once could, but I can sit here in my chair and write a card. So many people just need a ‘thank you’ or a word of encouragement, just need to know that we notice them, appreciate them, and care about them. That, I can do.”
Muriel Donnelly (played by Maggie Smith) was derailed and embittered because she had defined herself by the one purpose she had: to be all she could be to the family she served and loved. She was accountant, cook, maid, childcare provider, tutor, anything they needed. Muriel became so consumed by what she no longer was that she could not see what she could still be. However, after a few weeks at the Marigold Hotel, she recognized that Sonny needed a business manager so he could focus on creating his dream hotel. What he lacked in experience and expertise, she had in spades. She knew what the next step needed to be and she acted.
Never allow yourself to think you have nothing left to give. If you woke up this morning, you have a purpose. Don’t, however, spend too much time sitting around wondering what that purpose is. Thoughtful consideration is important, but acting is equally necessary. What is the next step, the one that will take you from where you are to somewhere else? What is the opportunity, task, or need right in front of you?If you woke up this morning, you have a purpose. Click To Tweet
Whether you are charging a straight line to a particular end, or moving from one moment to the next, “Why Not?” wake up each day and move forward with intention?
Mr. and Mrs. Ainslie (played by Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton, respectively) broke my heart. A marriage held together by obligation because a heart was hardened by bitterness. An unforgiven mistake resulted in resentment which, given freedom to grow unrestrained, choked all remnants of joy and peace.
Okay, be honest. How many of you know a Mrs. Ainslie, an expert at delivering a little bit of justified anger to a deserving fellow? How many of you have been a Mrs. Ainslie at some point? I know I have had my “Mrs. Ainslie” moments. All of those cliches about forgiveness being a blessing not for the recipient, but for the giver, are wrapped up in the Ainslies’ story. I don’t need to elaborate. Bitterness, blame, and boredom are toxic.
Oh, and one more thing about Evelyn. She started a blog to write about the experiences of her new season — now, why didn’t I think of that?? 😉
“But it’s also true that the person who risks nothing, does nothing; has nothing. All we know about the future is that it will be different. But, perhaps what we fear is that it will be the same. So, we must celebrate the changes. Because, as someone once said “Everything will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, then trust me, it’s not yet the end.” ~~ Evelyn
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