‘Twas a night in December of 2011, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that my BFF soon would be there. The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while I anxiously awaited to start a horrifically cheesy Christmas movie that ABC Family had put out called 12 Dates of Christmas. Sigh. I was never good at poetry, so I’ll leave it for Clement Clark Moore. Seriously though, I really wanted to see this movie and I knew my BFF, who has an equally pathetic love for cheesy rom-coms, was the perfect person to have by my side. It had everything you would expect of a magoo made-for-TV-movie; discontinuity, plot holes, everybody growing together as people, cheesy lines, and a male lead character saving the world one wayward teenager at a time. And, sadly, my BFF and I loved every second of it. We even watched parts of it over again when we realized there were some hidden gems we had missed. I may have liked it so much that I convinced another friend of mine to watch it with me again this year. And even though we both laughed at all the corny lines, poor acting, and plot holes, we both found ourselves sighing, as smitten women do, at the tender predictable ending.
Watching the movie a second time, I found myself appreciating the concept of making the most of our lives. If you didn’t watch the trailer in the link above, the lead actress lives Christmas Eve over and over again until she gets everything just right. Think of the movie Groundhog Day with less humor and more magoo. I got caught up in the message of living to our full potential in an effort to create a happier and fuller life. They drive the message home in one scene when they use Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” What a beautiful concept, right? It reignited my desire to make sure my life matched my values, my righteous desires, and my dreams, as that’s how I interpret that quote. I feel like the message is that we are to be active participants in creating a life that exemplifies who we aspire to be.
I think that’s why I like the idea of bucket lists so much. They are like the blueprints of my dreams. I think back to my 30th birthday and my husband’s gift to me. My Life Bucket List has “Ride a Zamboni” on it. My guess is that had I not put it out there as a sincere desire it would not have come to pass. That February night in 2011, I was in dreams awake. Or even something simpler I did this past week from my Christmas Season Bucket List. I had on there to take cards to a retirement home. As much as I genuinely wanted to do it, I could have easily justified not doing it. The Saturday was cold and rainy and my husband would not be with me to help with the kids. However, because of the list and having put it out there as something I wanted to do, I made the extra effort to do it. How glad I am that we did. It felt so good to brighten the day of so many people. Plus, it was darling to see the pictures and notes my children created for the residents. Seeing my children brighten someone else’s day is me living in dreams awake.
But it’s not just about bucket lists. It’s about making the effort to live your dreams, whether they be small or large. To live in the moment, to make the most of that moment. That’s the message that 12 Dates of Christmas and Henry David Thoreau are trying to make, I think. We have this glorious opportunity to change the world around us for the better merely by making a commitment to ourselves to live to our full potential.
In some ways I’m great at this and in other ways I fail to accomplish my dreams. Perfect example: I dream of being healthier. Not thinner, though that would inadvertently happen, but healthier. I hope that one day I can live in dreams awake with a fit body. In the meantime, cheeseburgers beat out vegetables every time. Thankfully, I have not completely given up on myself. My determination to accomplish my Life Bucket List may be all I need to make this a reality since several items on there require a healthier body.
Each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses. And while Amy Smart got to live Christmas Eve 12 times over before getting it right, we also have another day to give it our best effort. So, here’s to embracing our strengths and challenging ourselves on our weaknesses in the hopes of living in dreams awake; our truest life, or rather, to our full potential.