You’re old. You’re sitting on a green plastic lounge chair on a sunny autumn morning. Everything aches. Your knees hurt. They are covered with a blanket. The nurse comes and tucks it in under your heavily socked feet snug in the slippers you got on your last birthday. For a few years now, you had to blow only one candle on that famous day when your loved ones make a fuss of you. You haven’t enough breath for blowing more than one, and there’s no room for the growing forest of tiny white candles that drip onto the cake mixing with the icing giving you an upset stomach. Lately anything can give you a stomach ache. You close your eyes to take in the sun beating down with early morning hesitation on your face. The nurse brings the shades that your family insisted you wear in the sun. They make you look like an aged version of one of the Blues Brothers. You complain faintly. You give up. You close your eyes, no longer feeling the heat on your eyelids, and you drift. You have been drifting a lot lately. Most of what come to mind are events, people, how you felt about things that happened, how it went down, how you made it to this ripe old age where you can still remember who you are, you lucky bastard.
Going back in time, you dwell on what really made you who you are, what moved you to tears, your happiest moments, people you lost. Most of all, you count your regrets. Do you have regrets? Everyone has regrets.
What if I told you that I can give you the power to edit your life. As you are sitting there, thinking about it and living it back a la Benjamin Button, I would give you the power to play it back, scene by scene and cut what you don’t like, what doesn’t make sense, what made you sad, what hurt those you loved, what didn’t quite fit. Given the power to edit that longish movie that brought you to this mildly sunny morning, what would you take out? What would you leave in? What counted for you? What bothered you so much that you are still thinking about it even now, with your feet numb and permanently cold, with your back not quite comfortable in any chair, despite the ringing in your ears, your fading sight, there are things that you have done, that were done to you that you still remember, that you still think about. They bug you. Would you edit them out?
Is our life meant to be a collection of experiences, a journey through an invisible track, well-laid for us since our conception, where we think we are choosing, whereas we are unaware of the predestined chart leading us where we have to go. Is life really a series of choices, or inevitabilities? Are we really free, and if we are, why do we still have regrets sitting under our blanket in the old people’s home where we ended up?
What would you edit?
A chance encounter that changed your life? An event that turned your world upside down. Would you wipe that out and try to figure what else you would put in its place? What would be the moments that you would most cherish, that you would include in the trailer of your life? Are the star moments work-related? Okay, stop laughing. Are they love-related? Okay, stop tearing up.
So, if you can go back and remove all the nonsense, the stuff that won’t fit in your trailer, what would you concentrate on? Those people you loved? Your family? The friends who made you wish life would never end so you can crack the same jokes with them and laugh with the spirit and sound of your childhood? If you can do it again, like in the movies, live your life again – I grant you poetic license to do it. Would you live it differently? Would you treasure those trailer moments and the stars of those moments? Or would you go to that meeting, on that business trip that you can get out of and go see your loved one on that special day you missed the first time around when you lived fast to end up under that blanket wishing I wasn’t joking and I can really give you the gift of editing. I won’t. You know I won’t. The good news is this:
You still have time, do it now. Can you? Will you?
Happy editing. I’d love to see that trailer when you’re done.