Do you remember the film Awakenings? If you were a teen or older in 1990, you recall it was based on Dr. Oliver Sacks’ book of the same name. It recounted the true (Hollywood adjusted) story of a miracle drug that woke catatonic patients after decades. It was a moving and sad film (I won’t spoil the plot turns) and was a critical success.
I think we often live like those patients in Awakenings. We hope and wait that one day a magic moment will occur and we will behave differently from then one. We love to set false starts to our personal awakening. “I’ll start the diet on Monday.” “If she says she’ll go out with me, I’ll start hitting the gym.” “If the boss treats me badly one more time, I’ll quit.” We defer our own life to time and action outside ourselves. We refuse to be masters of our own destiny, but victims of circumstance and pretenders to our fate.
Movies make these awakenings seem natural. In the recent comedy Cedar Rapids, the main character is challenged to change his life by his interactions with the “wacky” people at an insurance conference who challenge his quiet demeanor. By film’s end, of course, he has grabbed hold of his own future and (because it is a comedy) will live happily ever after. While unrealistic, it can be inspiring. Look at the advice of Sen. Robert F. Bennett: “Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”
So don’t put it off. Don’t wait on others. Find some dormant part of your soul and being and wake it up. Own your own life.