Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I'd Like a Little....Perspective.

"I'd like a little...perspective.  Fresh out, I take it?"

Today's post made me think of one of my favorite movies, Ratatouille. I could write an entire blog about my love for and belief in cooking... but for now I just want to nod to a quote from the movie because yesterday I was blessed with a little perspective.

Before we get started though, one of my favorite quotes from Anton Ego the angry food critic, that I quote all the time.  In response to Linguini's jab that Anton is thin for someone who likes food:

"I don't like food!! I loooooove it! And...

Anyway, Anton comes back ready to destroy the restaurant Gusto's reputation.  When he arrives, the waiter asks him what he wants.  

Mustafa: [taking Ego's order] Do you know what you'd like this evening, sir? 
Anton Ego: Yes, I think I do. After reading a lot of overheated puffery about your new cook, you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? 
Mustafa: With what, sir? 
Anton Ego: Perspective. Fresh out, I take it? 
Mustafa: I am, uh... 
Anton Ego: Very well. Since you're all out of perspective and no one else seems to have it in this BLOODY TOWN, I'll make you a deal. You provide the food, I'll provide the perspective, which would go nicely with a bottle of Cheval Blanc 1947. 
Mustafa: I'm afraid... your dinner selection? 
Anton Ego: [stands up angrily] Tell your chef Linguini that I want whatever he dares to serve me. Tell him to hit me with his best SHOT. 

Then, of course, the song starts playing in your head.

Over the last few months, I've been on a journey and I feel like it materialized into a spiritual awakening yesterday.  It was my 23rd birthday:)  I was chatting with some friends and we started talking about something  I've been thinking about for months.  Particularly well articulated by President Uchtdorf in his talks Of Regrets and Resolutions and Forget Me Not: "Forget not to be happy now."

I've been trying to make a lot of life decisions lately.  I graduated college.  Now what?  I never before realized that my life plan culminated with that accomplishment.  I just figured my life would pretty much be set by now:) There are a lot of paths ahead, big choices.  Marriage, grad school, masters and doctorate programs, career choices, debt.....

A lot of things.  I've been a little scared trying to look at the fact that I don't know where I will be in 5, 10, 15, 20 years.  And that I can't know.  I can't know.  Sure, I can plan.  I need to plan.  But there will always be uncertainty until it's over.

Anyway, our conversation.  We were talking about relishing what we have and allowing ourselves to be happy in uncertainty.  Not just to "live in the moment," but to choose to enjoy things as though the outcome doesn't matter.  Because, really, the outcome doesn't determine present happiness.  Even if it all ends badly, is that any reason to be unhappy now? If you have to deal with dissapointment later, wouldn't you rather have times of hope and happiness to look back on rather than only dread, doubt, and going half way? If it ends well, won't you feel silly for wasting all that time you could have been happy?

Example 1: My friend broke up with a girl a few weeks back.  It was really hard on him, but one of the things he really regrets is not enjoying what he had when he had it.  He only dated her for a few weeks, and he would come home from seeing her every night and be stressed and worried and freaked out about where it was going and what he wanted and what she wanted.  He wishes he had just enjoyed and cherished those few weeks while he had them.  Maybe it wouldn't be so hard for him to let go now if he had.  Point: he was putting his happiness on hold over worries that didn't end up mattering.

Example 2: For about a year, my friend has been stressed out over this guy who kinda wants to date her, but won't commit and won't meet her emotional needs.  He's a great guy.  But I know she would have been happier if she could move on.  I felt a little hypocritical as I was later talking to my roommie about a guy I used to date.  I sometimes still struggle with dating other people because he left such an impression on me of how great a guy can be.  My roommate told me that she wanted me to be able to let him go, because what we had wasn't that amazing.  Sure, he was an amazing guy, but I never fully had him and I certainly didn't have him now. Being able to fully let go and not worry helps me be happy dating amazing guys who do want to be in my life. Point: I was putting my happiness on hold because of something that isn't really pertinent.

I have spent a lot of time lately thinking through scenarios, worrying about what path to take.  I spend  a lot of time worrying about things that will never happen.  I worry about getting another degree, the possibility of marriage and a family, career... I want the attitude of, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."  I don't have to worry about planning the best year of a grad program to get married; or when I should have my first kid. Those things are not relevant in my life and to my happiness right now.  Of course, I should take things into consideration and be flexible, but I tend to take it to the extreme and worry about choices I will probably never have to make.  

I just want to be filled with love for the people around me and enjoyment of my life today.  To snatch little pieces of happiness as they come to me, rather than waiting for the big, perfect, happy life situation.  Because that will never come.  So what if I'm a new mom as I'm working on my grad program? I'll figure it out.  So what if I'm not top of my class?  It will work out.  I just want to enjoy the imperfect, small victories of every day.  Enjoy what brings me happiness now without worrying where it will take me in the future.  Without grieving over things that haven't happened and don't matter.  

Anton's face as he is offered perspective.  I had the same face as I sat in my bed writing in my journal, realizing that I just want to appreciate and enjoy what I have, while I have it and not worry about the past or future.

Then he happily devours his meal.  

And turns into a turtle-neck/beret-wearing weirdo.  But we still love him and his new-found happiness.


  1. Michelle, I didn't know you had a blog! Now I'm going to be up all night catching up on posts :) ha ha. This was such a great insight and something I totally need to remember. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Cort! I keep feeling like I have this realization over and over. It's something you learn your whole life I guess:)