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A couple weeks ago, my wife and I decided to rent a movie. We don’t really watch too many movies, but on that particular weekend, I suggested it due to the fact that neither of us had to work on Monday (MLK day). We had a three day weekend, why not relax a little?
On the Redbox rental screen, we looked through all of the movies and we both were interested in watching Christopher Robin. During this weekend together, I watched it twice. It had such an amazing message. It was the definition of the “rat race.”
For those of you not familiar with the term, the rat race is the phrase commonly used by ChooseFI to describes the lives of the average everyday American that constantly runs around everyday. This American gets up, rushes out the door to get to work, spends 8 hours plus at work, rushes back home to see the family, goes to bed and gets back up to do it all over again.
This constant cycle is tiring. My wife and I feel it every Friday. Some Fridays I go straight to bed right after putting our daughters to sleep. We are just drained from the week.
That’s why this idea of financial independence is so intriguing to both of us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have enough money that we can dictate our own schedule? Wouldn’t it be nice to live a life that requires less running around and more family time? That is what we want and the movie, Christopher Robin, was a great reminder of this fact.
In this movie, Christopher Robin is an adult who lost touch of his friends in the hundred acre wood. Instead, he focused on developing a career after his time in the military. This job was requiring him to work on a weekend that he had already planned a trip with his wife and daughter. He cancelled the trip with his family to stay and work.
His wife and daughter still went on the trip, both feeling disappointed and let down by Christopher Robin. His wife made a comment that portrays the rat race better than anything else:
“YOUR LIFE IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW IN FRONT OF YOU.”
– EVELYN ROBIN
Evelyn Robin said this as they were arguing about him constantly working and not being at home. He was not making an effort to be present at home. He was not really enjoying his life. That’s the definition of the rat race. As the movie progressed, you could see that it was heading to the point that he was going to realize that family was important. Along the journey, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eyore become very important parts of Christopher Robin’s discovery.
In one important part of the movie, Pooh makes a statement.
“DOING NOTHING OFTEN LEADS TO THE VERY BEST OF SOMETHING.”
This statement struck both my wife and I. It is a statement that doesn’t make sense. How can doing nothing lead to the best of something? We talked about it and came up with the realization that sometimes nothing is really the best. We talked about the weekends when we have nothing planned, but that allows us to just do things on a whim. These weekends can be the best.
I remember the summer that my family spent together with my wife on maternity leave and I was on summer break. We had four solid weeks of doing nothing (not nothing as were taking care of our kids, but we didn’t have a plan). Those four weeks were so much fun as we got to enjoy our brand new baby and watch our eldest daughter grow up right before our eyes.
From writing on the sidewalk with chalk to going for family walks everyday. We got to just enjoy our time with each other and there was nothing that had to get done for work. There was nothing to pull us away from our time with our family. It was the best!
Years ago, a book had been recommended to me by one of my friends. I purchased this book and it has sat on my bookshelf for at least two years. I have been making more of an effort to read this year and finished one book in January. Once finishing that book, I decided to pick up the one that my friend recommended.
The book is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. Chapter 5 of this book is titled, “Escape,” and begins with a quote from Pablo Picasso.
“WITHOUT GREAT SOLITUDE NO SERIOUS WORK IS POSSIBLE. - PABLO PICASSO
In this chapter of Escape, Greg uses many examples from successful people to show how important it can be to escape. He talked about Bill Gates, who since 1980, takes two weeks off every year to just read. He doesn’t look at or focus on his business. These are two weeks of solitude to just think and read.
While going through the examples, Greg also compares the essentialist to the nonessentialist. A nonessentialist is somebody that takes on too much. Somebody who is constantly running around and is constantly busy. The essentialist, however, makes a cognitive decision on the tasks that are important and the ones that aren’t.
It is basically the idea of doing too much and overloading yourself versus doing only stuff that is essential. A nonessentialist, according to Greg, is too busy to think about life. On the other other hand, the essentialist creates space to escape and explore life.
I believe the message is clear. From a simple statement in a movie that led me to think to a chapter in a book. Both messages are the same. We must give ourselves time to relax and just do nothing. Our minds become more refreshed and our bodies become rejuvenated.
This time to refresh allows us to tackle the challenges of the rat race. It allows us to be creative and invent new thoughts. The weekend that my wife and I watched “Christopher Robin,” was a weekend that we essentially were planning to do nothing, but came away discussing the deeper meaning in the movie. Not only did we discuss a deeper meaning, but it gave me a great article idea.
Doing nothing can really lead to the very best of something! Not only did it give me an article idea, but it reminded us about the importance of discussing why we do things. I challenge you to not just run through each day with your hair on fire, but instead contemplate your life and the way you are living it. Is it what you want? Do you want more? How can you change your life to get everything that you want?
I challenge you to stop, think and wonder about the possibilities of your life.