This has been a reflective weekend that began with the movie 50/50. The premise, for those who aren’t familiar, is a 27 year-old, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt–you remember Angels In the Outfield–is diagnosed with cancer. He has an overbearing mother, a father with Alzheimers, a crude best friend–Seth Rogan, a hesitant-to-involve-herself girlfriend, and an understanding that patience with his form of cancer have a 50% chance of survival. I found myself completely taken by trying to grasp what that would be like.
What is it like to be a guy still on the cusp of life who finds himself on the cusp of death? What are the questions he’s asking? What are the things and who are the people he’s thinking about? What is he fearful of missing? Is there peace? Is there fear? Where and how does he spend his time? What is he gaining through this unique psychological experience, and can I gain the same things by seeking to understand his predicament?
IT GOES ON
Perhaps I’m over-thinking the whole story. We go through this life with only so much capacity to grasp the completely crazy, the overwhelmingly difficult, or the entirely unexpected, and maybe in those times we realize that there isn’t always a reasonable explanation. Years of life aren’t distributed based upon a clear set of criteria that we can reference to clear up why we find ourselves wherever we find ourselves.
I thought of Robert Frost’s simple take which is to “…sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on”, but what about when it doesn’t? I think he’s saying that we all have in common, no matter how good or bad, that whether or not we make it through, we will continue onward. I hear what you’re saying Frost, but for every single one of us that won’t be the case one time, so what about then? What about when your one time that life doesn’t go on happens when you’re 27? Life is just confusing, but not as confusing as death.
I’m not really sure what to do with the storm of thoughts 50/50 sparked. I don’t have any clue what that situation would feel like. It’s a healthy thing to ponder, and I think an age old lesson applied once again here. That lesson: I need to do more appreciating.