Valuable life lessons from the movie “Tuesday’s with Morrie”

Capture1

(FOREWORD: I was recently tagged in a “7 Day Book Challenge” by a good friend on Facebook wherein the participants get to post and share their all time favorite books (1 per day in 7 days) and subsequently nominate somebody for the challenge. The challenge was then, sort of, passed along to the named nominee to take in the next 7 days hence.

The book posted by my friend seemingly appealed to my interest. And so, having no time to spare to run to a bookstore to immediately grab a copy of it, I, instead tried to download and watch its movie adaptation. And it did not fail me. The movie was superb! And I was advised later on by my friend that to her the book is way far better. Although I was also able to listen to its audiobook (or the most part of it) via Youtube, I will still get a copy of the book soon, for sure.

And so, listed hereunder are the lessons I’ve learned from watching the movie. If you happen to watch the movie or read the book, I’d be glad to read your comments below.)

In the movie, Mitch Albom, the author of the best selling book “Tuesday’s with Morrie“, records the lessons he received from his former teacher, Morrie Schwartz. Morrie gave these life lessons while struggling with a life-threatening disease — ALS, commonly known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease (a chronic, progressive, almost always fatal neurological disease. It is marked by slow but steady death of the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement. That is, people can no longer move, but their heart still beats.) Mitch has compiled every lesson he received from his teacher purposely (although it was not expressly stated in the movie and that were just later on known through the series of interviews with Mitch conducted after Morrie’s death and the release of the said book) to write into a book  which aimed to pay for the research on the cure for the disease and to augment the medication and other needs of Morrie as he battles through it. Unfortunately, Morrie did not lived long enough to read even just a single word from the book dedicated for his recovery.

In the movie, Morrie tells Mitch, “Study me in my slow and patient demise. Watch what happens to me. Learn with me.” When someone is on their deathbed, their view towards life can change; they can realize what is important and what is not. As Mitch would say, “Morrie would walk that final bridge between life and death, and narrate the trip.”

Besides these 2 moving quotes about life and relationship: “There is no such thing as ‘too late’ in life” and “Death ends a life, not a relationship.” Here are the most powerful lessons I learned from the book.

  1. Live every day as if it were your last

Morrie is happy that he has time to say goodbye to his loved ones thanks to his disease, which is slowly moving him closer to death. Morrie calls himself lucky; I am not sure if, under the circumstances he was in, I would call myself that. When I heard his explanation to using this word, I understand what he means. He suggests doing what some others do, metaphorically speaking, which is: “Every day, have a little bird on your shoulder that asks, ‘Is today the day? Am I ready? Am I doing all I need to do? Am I being the person I want to be?'”

These simple words have a pool of information for each one of us. We must be ready to say goodbye to the world, any given day. How many of us can say that they are ready to die today? Of course, we may never be ready for death, but we must try to show our loved ones how much we care about them. We should not wait for a special occasion to express our love; we should make a habit of it. We should give our best to the world. Starting today, we should have a little bird on our shoulders too.

  1. Remember to spend quality time with the family

Most of us have a tendency of taking our family for granted. If it is a Friday night, we start planning our outing with the friends. Sometimes, we have to be forced to spend time with our parents on holidays. Life is fun with friends and parties with them; however, the bond of love, which we share with our parents and loved ones, is the ultimate one. Instead of keeping them at the bottom of our priority list, we must cherish and appreciate them whenever we get a chance.

  1. Enjoy your emotions to the fullest

One should not hide from any emotion, rather one must experience each emotion entirely. If you love someone, love them with all you have; if you are sad, cry until you cannot cry anymore; so that when the same emotion hits you again, you know exactly what is going to happen. We hide ourselves from emotions because we are afraid to get hurt.

  1. Money can never buy real happiness

Typically, people are pursuers of luxurious things. However, I agree with the explanation of Morrie. According to him: “If you’re trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down at you anyhow. And if you’re trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone.” We are blindly running behind money; we forget our kids, parents, relationships, and friends.

We are busy. We are always busy. Busy has become a word that is being used as an excuse all over the world. At the end of the day, money will only get us a good hospital bed to die in — and a good headstone. Is that what we are aiming for? Of course, money is important, but it is not more important than our family. One may argue that to take care of our family, we need money. That is true. However, if we do not have time to spare for our loving family, then I believe there is a problem with our plan.

  1. Pay attention to the person you talk to

I wonder how many of us really listen while we talk! According to Morrie, it is really important to pay our utmost attention to the person you are conversing with. Imagine if this is the last conversation with your loved one, would you wish to let it go unheard?

  1. Marry the person with the same values as you — and treat them well

As per Morrie, people should get to know about other people’s values and beliefs; marry the person who shares your values and beliefs. A life partner is a very important part of our life. In our time of need, friends may come and go, but our life partner will be with us. During sickness, they are the ones who take care of us. Therefore, they should be treated with love, care and respect. As Morrie quotes a famous saying: “Love each other or perish.”

  1. Decide your own rules; do not let society steer your life

Morrie says that people are running behind things that do not — necessarily — matter to them. He says that we must believe in each other and ourselves. According to him: “Invest in the human family. Invest in people. Build a little community of those you love and who love you.” He mentions we should rely on our own instincts to decide our thought process and actions — and not society. In his own words: “I don’t mean you disregard every rule of your community… The little things, I can obey. But the big things — how we think, what we value — that you must choose yourself. You can’t let anyone — or any society — determine those for you.”

  1. Forgive others, as well as yourself

We tend to hold grudges in life. Even if somebody apologizes, how many of us — truly — forgive the person? We may smile and accept, but there is a huge possibility that we do not forgive them. Forgiving another person not only releases a burden of one’s own heart, but also makes us a better person.

Happy Saturday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge a Book by its Cover

39333396-cover-wallpapers

Besides writing I am much more hooked in reading. And having a degree in Literature gave me the opportunity to browse through virtually all sorts of literature and read countless books. Even now, despite outrageous demands from my job, I still make it certain to grab some time to indulge in reading every single day. In fact, I might forget to carry a phone with me but never a book wherever I go. That’s just me.

And talking about judging an actual book by its cover (yes, its cover alone without reading through the synopsis usually written at the back side of it) is one thing I actually  do.

As we’re all aware of, Twitter demands the news of the day be condensed into 140 characters. In order to squeeze in our pithy commentary, we crop and substitute, abbreviate and summarize. Yet Leo Tolstoy was able to use just three words to frame his 1,225-page novel ‘War and Peace’, while a book that continues to influence political discourse after more than half a century carries the four-character title of ‘1984’.

In the space of just a few words or even numbers, the titles of books can capture the mood, theme and style of the stories within. More than once, I have been persuaded to buy a book simply as a result of the poetry of its title.

The first time that I remember being won over in this way was when I saw ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ on a bookshelf. It seemed to me that the title was a profound and beautiful statement in itself. Happily, I enjoyed the book in its entirety and it provided a gateway for me into Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s body of work, including the other gorgeously-titled ‘Cien años de Soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude)’

I consider a book title to be a window into its interior. It can be whimsical or terse, evocative or opaque. And sometimes, it is the simple rather than the prosaic, which best tells the story.

Titles are much more than just words — they shape our expectations, reflect a book’s character, and help cement a story in our memories.

Author John Irving spoke about the significance of titles when he discussed the order in which he crafts a novel: “Titles are important, I have them before I have books that belong to them. I have last chapters in my mind before I see first chapters, too. I usually begin with endings, with a sense of aftermath, of dust settling, of epilogue.”

However, titles were not as much of a driving force for writer Judy Blume, author of the memorably titled ‘Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret’, who said: “I always have trouble with titles for my books. I usually have no title until the editor has to present the book and calls me frantically, ‘Judy, we need a title’.”

More so, the power of a title becomes clear when considering the impact of an alternative title for a well-loved book. Some of the other titles under consideration by F Scott Fitzgerald for what was later to become ‘The Great Gatsby’ included ‘Among the Ash Heaps and Millionaires’, ‘Trimalchio in West Egg’ and ‘Trimalchio’. Would the book, considered by some to be the great American novel, be as enduringly popular if it had been given its original name?

It is doubtful whether ‘Gone with the Wind’ would have captured quite as many hearts if Margaret Mitchell had stuck with her original title ‘Mules in Horses’ Harness’.

What is clear is that titles are much more than just words — they shape our expectations, reflect a book’s character, and help cement a story in our memories. At their best, they can capture the reader’s imagination, before they even open the first page.

How about you? What is your favorite book title? Here are some of my favorites:

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Where Angels Fear to Tread, E.M. Forster

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things, Jon McGregor

 

Photo credits: Google photos