Have you ever felt like you were at the right place at the right time? I might read into these things too much but I often look at certain pleasant and unexpected events as situations that were meant to happen and therefore validate every decision which has led me to that point as correct. I find deep joy in these situations where everything just seems to align. I suppose that’s serendipity. We make so many decisions daily that’s it’s nice to be able to justify some of them with the help of a great outcome. Especially when it follows a let down or what seems to be a bad turn of events. It also helps if you learn to appreciate small acts of kindness, and pay more attention to your surroundings. This way you’re bound to encounter something that will make you happy or put a temporary smile on your face.
Our Saturday started out with the simple decision of what movie to watch and which theater to see it in. We watch so many movies that sometimes we come to a point where we literally will have seen everything, or at least everything worth watching, at the movie theater near our place, so we begin to consider other locations. Another factor to consider when choosing a theater is the surroundings. Are there restaurants nearby? A great coffee place? Perhaps another attraction. Of course you have to take into account transportation. Do we want to walk there, take public transit, or drive? After long deliberation and trailer watching we thought it would be a relatively safe choice to see a movie which has been nominated for 9 Oscars, and has a rating of 8.4 on imdb.com. Surprisingly the only theater that played this movie and was relatively close was 20 minutes away. And off we went…
After the credits roll I love to leave the movie theater feeling something, and preferably something positive. Whether it’s happiness due to the lighthearted nature or happy ending of the movie, contentment because I watched a great and interesting film, or an appreciation for my own life because of the trials the character on-screen had to endure. Any positive emotion will do. Well the movie we saw this time didn’t leave me with any of those. It was awful! AWFUL!
Tastes obviously differ, as noted in the awards described above, but I left the theater angered. I can’t even really describe it, and it doesn’t sound rational at all, but I really didn’t appreciate paying to spend two hours of my life watching something supposedly awesome and hating it. Yes there are positive things I can note like the cinematography and acting, but point being at the end I didn’t like it and that’s that.
The great thing about negatives is you have the power to turn every situation around, sometimes consciously other times not, but I suppose it starts with your attitude and outlook.
We normally like to try new things and steer away from chain restaurants in order to find hidden gems. This time for some reason, after we left the theater, I felt like a California salad and I knew just the chain restaurant to get it. We could have waited in the 45 minute line for the dining room, but we chose to grab a seat in the bar which was first come first serve. We happened to sit next to an older couple, let’s call them G and M. They were actually 80 but I really don’t like calling people old because old is a state of mind, which certainly doesn’t describe them. You wouldn’t normally talk to the people seated next to you at a restaurant but perhaps due to the proximity of the tables in the bar area it felt really natural to do so.
This is where serendipity comes in. Had we not made all of the decisions which led up to this moment – had we not driven 20 minutes away from home to watch a terrible film even though there’s a perfectly good cinema at our doorstep, and eaten at an ‘unusual’ to us place, and didn’t choose not to wait for a seat in the dining room, we would not have found ourselves in the midst of this wonderful conversation learning about love from a couple that’s been married for 60 years. 60 years. Imagine that for a second. Seeing a couple that’s been married for 60 years, not only not miserable, but happy and out on a date is a truly humbling experience. And when they’re willing to talk to you, you listen! We were fortunate enough to be the recipients of their wisdom, and in that conversation they shared with us their insight and secrets to a happy marriage:
Let me share with you what I think were gems about love and how to live happily:
1. Be and let the other person truly be themselves.
You have to be authentic. Pretending to be someone you’re not will not last long. And you have to let your partner do the same.
2. Have fun.
G & M looked like the kind of people that could have fun doing the most mundane of tasks. It’s really about who you’re with and not about what you’re doing.
3. Don’t pick at the little things.
Look at the big picture. If you love your partner, and they are who they are, don’t worry about changing them or changing little tiny things that don’t matter. It’s not worth fighting about. Let it go. Don’t get hung up on things, and see #2.
4. Behind every great man there’s a great woman.
She said it! And who am I not to include this tidbit?!
5. Stay active.
This wasn’t said outright but given the fact that G played hockey until he was 73, is still working, and keeps his mind sharp, I think that’s good advice.
This was one of the best conversations I’ve had and it completely turned my mood around. It was lovely, motivating, and encouraging, and we loved every minute of it. I don’t know if a single conversation is just one of many for most people, but to me this felt special and I really appreciated it. We exchanged information and I like to think that we made new friends that night.
Thank you G & M