Watching: Before Sunset

Thinking: About contentment.

The movie “Before Sunset” stars Ethan Hawke as an successful writer sans life fulfilment and Julie Delpy as a hot French woman who’s lost the ability to love. When I put it that way, it sounds extremely cheesy, but like Ethan Hawke‘s part in “Waking Life”, the movie is choke full of interesting commentary that mimics a conversation held between intellectuals in the comfort of friends, twisting from sensitive political and environmental issues to dissecting the way our generation is disillusioned after youth by the lack of us becoming famous and in love. It moves fast, has no special effects whatsoever, and entirely relies on the ability of these two actors to be on a camera and pull off talking to each other.

And holy mackerel, do they do it…

The movie really shook me up, thinking about love and life and the limbo that we all get trapped in – one issue in particular is the idea of growing content after a certain period of time, no matter how much you’ve achieved in life. Ethan Hawke‘s character states that some study was done on people who had just won the lottery and people who had become paraplegics…claiming that after six months they had adjusted to their new life situations and returned to their natural selves, so that pessimists just became pessimists with a million dollars and optimists just became optimists in a wheelchair (and vice versa, presumably).

This is something I’ve always feared but have insistently tried to deny about myself. I hate the idea that no matter what treasures we might dig up on secret islands full of coconut rum and scantily clad long lost loves that we can never be really happy with it. But, to be honest, I can see the elation of all things as wearing thin over time. Once something is the norm then it’s no longer appreciated quite as much because you get so used to it that you assimilate it into your life and expect nothing less.

On the other hand, the good side of this is that we can overcome any hardship with just a little time. But still, I can’t help but wonder what the difference is between greed and ambition . If a person is never satisfied with their life, and they continue to pursue a better one, then they’re considered ambitious. Want a better body? If you work out and eat right, you’ll get one. No one thinks badly of that. Want a better job? Work hard and rise up, very few people look down on someone for being successful in the workplace. But if this situation is applied to money, then ambition becomes greed.

But I’m getting off point – the question floating on the tip of my nose (just out of reach of my good tongue muscle) is this: In the tree climbing game of life, which is the greater pursuit – continually trying to climb higher so that you might one day reach the top, or being happy and enjoying the branch you’re sitting on?

Or is it a little of both? Take them each in turn…or at the same time, even.

Up Next: Across a smile