Call me old school.
I love the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life.
As an adult it is my holiday must see every year. I own the disc. I schedule a viewing on my calendar so that it doesn’t get lost in the holiday shuffle.
I am eternally grateful to Frank Capra for bringing Philip Van Doren Stern’s story to life. It can seem like a simple movie but if you watch it enough (ahem…about 30 plus times like me) there are a whole lot of layers, a whole lot of metaphors, and a bunch of life lessons.
Some of those lessons are obvious:
- “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends”- Clarence
- Everything we do touches other people’s lives
- It’s ok to ask for help
Some are not so obvious:
- Small things can add up to big accomplishments
- Your angels (your help) may come in a different package than you might have guessed
- Things may not be perfect but with a little love and care they can be beautiful
This year’s take away was that we may make plans to do great things and those plans might get thwarted but we end up doing great things, anyway, not just the great things that we started out to do.
In It’s a Wonderful Life, the main character, George Bailey, dreams of traveling and building big buildings and “doing something great”. Over the course of the story, he is stuck in his hometown, never gets to travel, doesn’t build any skyscrapers but instead builds a wonderful community where people thrive.
He didn’t start out to build a community but he did it and it turned out to be a great thing.
Taking a Look Back
Now most of us don’t have a guardian angel willing to grant us the wish that “we’d never been born.” But we can reflect on all the things in our life that same way to see who we touched, who touched us, what went right and what went wrong. We can discover how many cool, interesting, great things that we ended up with that were never part of our plan.
One of the plans that I made in my twenties was to do some great artwork and become a self-sufficient artist. It didn’t happen. What did happen, was that it led to me doing some cool looking things on cake for my children’s birthdays, which led me to open my own cake studio, which led me to teach baking and sugar art and I LOVE IT! Now I get to make edible artwork and show others how to do it. I never knew I wanted to be a teacher or that I could impact people in that kind of way, or that I could combine so many things I love into one job (art, baking, helping people).
Writing has been sort of the same way. I thought I wanted to write when I was 18 but everything that came out on paper was really depressing. I had no idea that 30 plus years later, I’d get another chance.
So my life doesn’t look at all like the blueprint I made 25 years ago. I actually think it turned out better.Examining where you have been is more than just a stroll down memory lane. Click To Tweet
Self-Analysis (of sorts)
Examining where we have been is more than just a stroll down memory lane. There is benefit in hindsight. There is gold in there!
We can look back and see how all the pieces fit together. This is very much a hopeful thing for our future! If we know that good things came out of a ‘failure’ once, it can happen again. It can also provide us with a frame of gratitude. And give us more courage to say “yes” when an opportunity presents itself.
There is also good lessons in there with anything that didn’t have a good outcome. All of it just gives us information to help us improve. It is insight for the next time something similar comes around. It gives you a chance to be a student of you.
In fact, the only way self-analysis becomes a bad idea is if you get stuck there and start asking ‘what if?’. Don’t give in to regret, look at the cool twist and turns that make your life what it is now. Use all that information to make new plans and to be resilient if those plans take a detour.
So, in hindsight, what turned out different than you anticipated? What is better than you could have planned? What plot twist brought you the most happiness?
We’d like to hear about your wonderful life!