Sunday, April 11, 2010

Date Night

Date night is a film about a Teaneck NJ couple that finds themselves in a rut. They get up in the morning, make breakfast and lunch for the kids, go to work, come home exhausted and prepare to do it all again the next day. They have one night when they go out to a movie and the same restaurant for dinner (ordering the same meal every time). They are nervous about their rut because they see their friends divorcing and they wonder to themselves if they are next. They decide to change things up a bit by going to diner in NYC, foolishly thinking they can get a table by being early! All of us from Bergen County know that it takes at least an hour to get into the city despite the fact we are only 15 miles outside of the city! Crazy traffic that can never be predicted is the reason. So getting their early by leaving at 6 PM just won’t work!

There are many couples in the world that can relate to this movie and ask themselves if the life they are living is all there is to life? I think if we look only on the surface of family life it may seem routine and boring. Yet there is so many interesting and important interactions happening all the time. As parents we are molding our children to be healthy, happy, honest, productive and creative adults. Hopefully, we are providing an environment that limits the amount of psychological “baggage” they will carry into adulthood. This is all a very HUGE and important responsibility for parents. And the risk if it is not done well is giving the world an adult who may choose to cause harm to others and themselves. The news is full of these individuals. What happened in their lives that they chose such a path?

We begin to realize how great ours lives of routine and sameness are when we experience the opposite. The couple in the film ran into criminals who wanted to cause them harm. All the couple wanted while they were experiencing this drama is to be safe in their home with their children. For many of us the opposite of our routine may be an illness or death in the family. Maybe we become the care taker of an aging parent and are trying to figure out how to fit these additional responsibilities into our day. And we may be thinking how much easier life was without this additional responsibility.

This too will change. Life allows for these changes so we can learn to appreciate all of life’s experiences. I am learning that it is not the experience itself that makes the difference but how I respond to the experience. Am I talking care of myself and family in a loving manner? Am I bringing calmness and understanding to discussions with those involved in the experience? Do I consider everyone’s feelings and concerns? Am I asking whose decision is it? Is it my decision to make or am I interested in making a decision so it easier is for me?

One additional responsibility I have is to cook dinner for my parents once and sometimes twice a week. I want to make meals that are spicy and different then what they may have had in the past. Sometimes my parents are open to my meal choice and other times they are not. I accept their choice and make a meal they would enjoy instead. Then I make the spicy/different meal for my family on a night I am not cooking for my parents. This way I get the best of both worlds. Satisfying my parent’s need of eating a meal they like and my own need of wanting to prepare and enjoy something different.

When the boredom sets into your life look at nature. Does a tree want to be anything other than a tree? It runs through the same cycle of life season after season. BORING! Yes, on the surface. But maybe there is a new bird or squirrel family nesting in its branches this season. We begin life as a human being, layering on roles as each year passes. Sometimes the roles can become so heavy and burdensome that we forget who we really are. Take time to examine the roles we take on to ensure they are the right fit. Ask what other roles you would like to experience? Is there something you have always wanted to do that just never fit into your life before? I have always wanted to ride a motorcycle. Many, many years ago Bill rode me around on his motorcycle when we were dating. Recently, we decided that after he gets is other hip replaced we would get motorcycles and ride for a hobby. I look forward to this new role of biker chick! I have also been interested in public speaking and I am working toward making this come about. These are two new roles that add some excitement to the normal routine life. A friend has always wanted to sky dive. Her husband gave her sky diving lessons for her birthday. I recently read in Time magazine about people who want to be their own butcher. They take classes to learn how to cut up cow and pig. The Twilight book series author decided that she would write down her dreams and wound up producing a successful book and movie series! Another friend and his wife are taking salsa dancing lessons. Life offers so many options on many different levels of interest. To find yours, start with the question ~ what did I enjoy doing as a child? List the answers and see how they may fit into your life today.

BYW, date night was very funny and I recommend seeing it. Just one thing though. It is rated PG13. There are topics and discussions in the movie that are not appropriate for that age group. We sat in the back of the movie theater that attracted at least 20 teenagers. They were bored from either a lack of understanding these topics or embarrassment to be hearing them in the co-ed group? Not sure but many of them left 1/3 of the way through the movie.