We went on a date yesterday afternoon, my favourite time to hire a babysitter because when we return home the kids have already been fed dinner. After spending an hour or so with them, we get them into bed and still have the whole evening to ourselves. We took my laptop to Future Shop for yet another warranty repair, then enjoyed a relaxing lunch at Joey Tomatoes, shopped for a bit at Chapters (with an eggnog latte, of course, as Starbucks is right there) and saw a matinee of How Do You Know, the new James L. Brooks comedy.
I generally avoid movies with an approval rating of less than 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, the fabulous website which takes a sample of all film reviews and creates a rating of "fresh" or "rotten". When I am going to pay $25 for two admissions to a movie, I would prefer it was not a waste of time and money. We booked our babysitter weeks ago for this date because I wanted to see this movie, as I love James L. Brooks' wacky sense of humour and philosophical musings. His characters are real and true and approachably down-to-earth, and I usually come away from one of his movies with something new to consider.
How Do You Know had a 36% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That wasn't a great sign. But we settled into the theatre with our popcorn, pop and some friends who were able to join us, and I hoped for the best. It took me the first thirty minutes or so to settle into the rhythm of the characters and the story, but I loved the entire cast, particularly Paul Rudd, and when it began to take off for me I was thoroughly captured and found that familiar magic of being at the cinema.
At one point, Reese Witherspoon's character goes to a therapist. She panics at the door and decides to leave, but asks him what overall advice he would give to someone struggling with a general problem. He said, "Find out what you want, and learn how to ask for it." This line struck me as profoundly true, and I have recognized it in my own life this past year.
Finding out what I want has become clearer to me in the past two years, with writing leading the way but I have discovered that I also want better boundaries, increased positivity in my outlook and relationships, and a more even footing within our families. Learning how to ask for it has been the tricky part, but I'm thrilled to see that I am making progress. It's slow, but progress in a direction you want to go, at whatever the pace, is preferable to stagnation or sliding backwards.
There is something amazingly powerful about standing up for yourself and feeling that you deserve what you are seeking. In the last few months I'm learning patience in an entirely new way. It's not the worst thing to wait for what I really want. It will be sweeter when I get it. But I know that understanding who I am and what I won't settle for has been a deeply profound process. When you gain some ground in this way in your life, there is no turning back, not for any reason or for anyone who may pressure you to return to where you once were.
I am moving forward. Snail's pace or hare's pace is irrelevant; forward motion is the thing that counts. Getting a little traction within myself has provided the necessary confidence and freedom to continue moving along this road of personal growth. The rewards I'm finding are at many points on this journey and not simply at the destination. I am finding out what I want, and learning to ask for it, and at the moment I can't think of anything more worthwhile I could be doing.