I went to see UP this afternoon. In 3-D. Alone.
It was wonderful.
I used to go to movies by myself at least once a month. But in recent years, the habit faded with an increasingly overwhelming social and work life. Suddenly there were no opportunities to just stop by a cheap theater on my way home from work and watch a quirky flick solo.
I've missed that.
I don't know how to explain it without sounding insane. For most of you, the thought would never cross your minds to spend two hours in the dark with strangers. But I'm not most of you. And oddly, I'm more likely to feel lonely when I'm stripped of my freedom to just be a little spontaneous and independent. One of the perks to getting older is learning to be comfortable with just being myself. I'm not an insecure teenager anymore, and kind of like hanging out with the woman I've become. She's pretty cool sometimes. She has bizarre ideas, makes random observations, has the heart of a child, the brain of an old woman, and can be giggling on the inside while appearing nonchalant to all those who pass her by. And she occasionally cries over animated old men.
I still love watching movies with friends, I really do. But sometimes I want to get caught up in a story without worrying about how I'm responding to a flick. When you go solo, no one holds you accountable for your laughter, mockery or tears. No one debriefs with criticism when your heart's all light and mushy. Sometimes I just crave an honest reaction from myself.
Friends used to call this solo-watching "pulling a Nadine." I highly recommend it. Everyone should do it at least once.
Okay, on to UP. This post should probably be a two-parter. I apologize for making you read paragraphs. (No, I don't. I lied.)
Delightful. Poignant. Christopher Plummer. And I cried. Twice.
I wasn't expecting to be moved by this great little geriatric-action-adventure flick. Because I had heard rumors of audiences tearing up, I assumed that I would remain cold-hearted and emotionless. Because that's often the case. The expectation of tears ruins it. Not this time.
It hit surprisingly close to home: What does adventure look like? What happens when our lives don't pan out the way we once dreamed it would? What is failure? Is part of growing up seeing our dreams change shape, our priorities shift, our deal-breakers readjust? If you had asked me last year what I'd be doing right now, I would have told you I'd be writing from somewhere that required a passport. Maybe with a boy and/or wombat in the tent next to me. (Yeah, I don't blog about everything, folks. Because my head doesn't always take me to places that are fair to others.)
I've landed in those places where I've mercilessly banged on the piano or scribbled in my journal, "I wanted an adventure, but NOT THIS ONE." But since my life is like a Pixar movie, the adventure I end up living is always far greater than one I could imagine. And with plenty of awkward character development to keep things interesting and moving in a generally forward direction.
As I walked out the theater this afternoon, I realized I'd be as perfectly happy with Ellie's adventure as I would be with Carl's. Because there's no point in having an adventure if you're not sharing it with someone. Even if that adventure doesn't look like the one you thought you wanted. And even if that someone is a rather annoying little boy who just needs a merit badge.
(In somewhat related news, I'd totally be open to a movie date to see 500 Days of Summer. Not necessarily a literal date. Unless that's how you roll. I heart Zooey.)