Yesterday, I eavesdropped on Dame Judy Dench and Maggie Smith. “How many new lives can we have?” asked Ms. Dench. She answered her own question with the best five words I’ve heard in a long time: “As many as we’d like.”
Lest you think I hang out in such royal company, I don’t. That question comes from the movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Have you seen it yet? I haven’t – my efforts yesterday were thwarted by some circumstances beyond my control – but I can’t wait. In preparation for sequel, Alan and I watched the original, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, on Netflix last Friday night. I smiled through much of the movie, with so many familiar themes resonating.
Curious? You can watch the trailer here.
When nothing is sure, everything is possible.
And nothing is sure about this so-called midlife, is it? I mean, we think we’re prepared…but are we?
When you’re younger, days can sometimes seem so long, but then suddenly you turn around and realize that much of life has gone by in a dizzying blur. I think this is especially true when our children are small – at least, for me it was. Childrearing was an all-consuming position, the details and daily rituals so specific and draining. The only predictable thing about it was its unpredictability.
There were a few things, though, that were sure: I’d be on mommy duty 24/7. My children depended on me. I not only served up meals, comfort, discipline and lots of love, but I served as a role model to usher my children into adulthood.
And then, one day, when my children were in high school, thoughts of their departure for college soon turning into realities, nagging thoughts poked at me:
- “How did I get here?”
- “Do I want to stay here?” (not in the literal sense, but in the figurative one)
- “Now what?”
- They’re all grown up…now is it my turn?
My life, with my children racing toward independence, would no longer resemble a well-planned out daybook; still, I had the feeling – or should I call it an optimistic yearning? – that anything was possible. I was young enough, energetic enough with a large measure of curiosity thrown in to go out and explore new territory.
And so, I embarked on something new. No one has made a movie about me – not yet, anyway – but if they had, here’s how its synopsis would read:
It was the impending empty nest that spurred Sheryl Kraft into action. After dedicating herself to full-time motherhood following a cancer diagnosis at 34, years later she came to realize that once her children left for college, she’d be searching for new meaning in her life. Though the thought of returning to college was at times daunting and even terrifying – complicating matters was the fact that she had not been in college since she graduated in 1976 – Sheryl forges ahead, eager to be an author, and most importantly, the author of her own life. It all culminates three years, countless sleepless nights and take-out dinners later, at age 50, when she accepts her MFA diploma at a moving graduation ceremony at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, where, on an unseasonably chilly day in May with her family cheering her on, she throws her (graduation) hat into the sky, then later, into the ring, becoming a full-time freelance writer. Her new life would not just usher in a new career, but new friends, new freedoms and new memories to build on for the second chapter of her life.
Author’s Note: And with that came the realization that we can, indeed, have as many new lives as we please.
P.S. The real movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel, is in theaters March 6, 2015.
P.P. S. Stay tuned for MY sequel.
AND ONE MORE THING…A GIVEAWAY! LEAVE A COMMENT AND TELL THE WORLD YOUR HOPES, DREAMS AND REALITIES TO MAKE ANYTHING POSSIBLE. A WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN RANDOMLY AND NOTIFIED BY EMAIL. WE’LL NEED A RESPONSE WITHIN 24 HOURS, OR YOU’LL MAKE SOMEONE ELSE (THE SECOND RUNNER-UP) VERY HAPPY BY PASSING THE PRIZES TO THEM.
WINNER WILL RECEIVE:
· $25 Visa gift card to inspire your next move
· Hotel Key Chain
· Copy of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD
This post is courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures (but opinions are strictly my very own!)