Lanie: Things happen. Things you never see coming. And you think afterward: if I’d known this, would I’ve change things? Would I’ve done more? What would I be thinking? I need more time.
These were lines from a 2002 romantic-comedy movie that I happily indulged myself to see the other night on MBC-2 Home of the Movies, starring Angelina Jolie and Edward Burns.
Lanie Kerrigan ( played here by Jolie) – is a Seattle TV station feature reporter who thinks that she got it all – beauty, fame, a hunk of a football player/boyfriend, a high-end condo, luxury car and all that jazz. Until her life was shattered when the self-proclaimed prophet Jack whom she interviewed on the street to find out if his football predictions are true, made a predictions for her so she would believe him. He said that she would die in a week’s time and her superficial life will soon come to an end.
Well, still remaining in doubt about what he said, she just laughed it off. But when his football predictions came true, she panicked. She asked Jack for another prediction – an earthquake in San Francisco – that would prove him wrong about her death. And again, Jack was right. The rest of the week revolved around her attempts at introspection about her impending death.
She began to view life as glass half-empty just because of a prediction that filled her with sadness, desperation and the thoughts about the failure of accomplishing her big dream. From that moment on, everything for her spiraled down the drain and life almost came to a halt. She didn’t find the consolation she desperately needed from her boyfriend so she ended up confiding with her cameraman/friend, Pete.
Lanie: Oh, and if you had a week to live, what would you do?
Pete: I would, you know – I’d have sex with you.
Pete: Look, you know what? I don’t know. If I was gonna die in a week, I would – I’d try and live every moment. I would go to see the people that mean the most to me, and I would try and memorize their face. And I would say to them all the things that I wanted to say, but have always been too afraid to.
Anybody can be like Lanie Kerrigan under the same circumstances. Death is a very serious matter of course. This may just be a movie but people also make a big deal out of any negativity around – a bad news, a hate speech or a fight with somebody over petty something. It’s not only about losing your life here, but other stuff that make us worry, overthink or become depress over losing something – money, a job or a girlfriend. Or it can be losing in a competition. Whatever. These things can also cause disruption or bring chaos to your once peaceful life.
Pete: Do you have another cameraman who can make her look like a natural blonde?
Lanie: I’m a TV personality. My hair is my trademark. Just like the “I don’t like to shower” look is your trademark.
Ego is such a bad company. Sometimes, things happened because you need see people from the other side of the fence. People always find negativity and fault in other people or put a blame on somebody when things happened differently, when in reality the problem is within.
Any kind of loss can shake up your nice little world. And instead of accepting what happens, people try to mess things up a little more. Grief comes in stages and going through these naturally will make things a bit easier instead of being in denial that pain exist, that there is never a chance to be happy again.
So what if you only have seven days to live?
God made the world in seven days and He did accomplish a lot. Yes, you are not God but as a human you can still do a lot. Maybe start doing little acts of kindness not only to yourself but to other people as well. There is time to grieve but there is also a time to go out and be a part of something worthwhile. There is still a chance to do something to your own benefit.
Lanie: Well, I hope you’re happy.
Pete: Define happiness
Lani: Your death
Every minute counts. Be mindful of your thoughts. So even if you might still be feeling bleh, uncomfortable and so Nega-Star, you can still do a lot and make the most of each day. Things doesn’t have to be grand or worthy of internet fame. It doesn’t necessarily mean to help the entire community. Little acts of kindness will make a lot of difference if you start with yourself and even just for one person.
Try singing happy birthday song to a child, soothing an injured puppy, bringing an old woman a flower you pick in the garden, call a friend or helping mom in carrying the groceries. Then, if you really can do great deeds then support a charity, or help renovate a church or support a kid’s operation or send an orphan to school. Nothing is wrong with that. Anything is possible and limitless. Just do what is closest to your heart.
Do something good also for yourself ASAP. Write yourself a love letter, visit distant relatives and places you used to go and enjoy, eat in your favorite restaurant, draw a picture of things you like, write a journal for the remaining days on how you feel about doing all these things. Anything can happen.
Pete: Did you ever hear the saying ” A picture holds a thousand words”
Lanie: That’s only for people like you who don’t know a thousand words.
Pete: I know two and the first one begins with an F….
Death is inevitable, that’s a given. Enjoying the remaining days doesn’t mean grinning from ear to ear 24/7 nor literally jump with joy just to prove you don’t care about dying, or have the feeling that it’s okay to lose something from fire or thank the guy who breaks your heart. But looking at life on a different perspective gives you a better chance to face reality and the change that you never would have expected.
Pete : Look. I don’t want the opportunity to pass me by again. So I should have told you this a long time ago. But I’ve loved you since the first day I met you.
Lanie: Define love.
Pete: Lanie, I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
Like all feel good romantic movies, it was a happy ending. The only part that really died was the life that she didn’t live at all. The superficial life about beauty, fame and money, things that didn’t add up to her soul’s evolution and happiness – all of these died with her old self.
True enough, the love of an ordinary, simple guy proved more powerful than the fake love that was created from the superficiality of her old beliefs and mind-blowing ego . It was only then that she started to live and love fully again.