The Boring Bits Are The Most Memorable
Up is not a kid's movie. Well not exclusively for kids. I have lost count of the number of times I have watched it and every time I fall a little bit more in love. It is a movie of love, adventure, grief, pain, loneliness and full of wisdom.
Here are some tidbits I love.
1. Don’t hold onto to stuff, people are more important
Mr. Frederickson refuses to let go of his house. He takes his house with him everywhere even on an adventure to South America. He refuses to let it go because the thinks it holds the memories of his wonderful life with his late wife. He drags it with him everywhere.
The house drags him down. The stuff in the house drags him down. It is a burden around his back until he decides he does not need the house. It is just a house. It does not hold any memories or remnants of the woman he loved. He holds those in his heart.
Why we do hold on to material things when they give us no joy? It is the people in our lives and the memories we make with them that give us infinite more joy.
2. Sometimes your heroes will let you down
Mr. Frederickson idolizes an explorer, Charles Munz. He later discovers that Munz is a ruthless and cruel man, who kills the animals he finds for glory and fame. He cares little for caring for the world and is obsessed with finding one animal.
Mr. Frederickson realizes that this man he idolized is not the man he thinks he is. He spent his life looking up to him and wanting to be like him.
Sometimes the people we idolize are not the people we think they are. Sometimes the people we should be praising are ourselves.
3. Obsession with success is never a good thing
Obsession with success, fame, and fortune will not make you happy. Charles Munz is obsessed with finding one animal that he believes will bring him fame and fortune and restore his reputation. He goes mad running after this one thing.
“Oh, I’ve spent a lifetime tracking it…Sometimes years go by between sightings.”
He lives in a secluded mountain in South America and spends his entire life chasing ‘success’. He misses out on life and living because he cannot let this one thing go.
People spend their lives looking for fame, fortune, and success while missing out on the most important parts of life. The parts that do not garner praise or make news headlines. The parts of life that are not glamorous like building a home and family, enjoying time with friends, cooking delicious food and enjoying time in nature. Not everything we do in life is about success.
4. The boring bits are the bits you remember the most
Russell recalls when talking of his absent father,
“I know this may seem boring but I think the boring stuff is the stuff I remember the most.”
The bits of life that are boring are the most memorable. The times when you make dinner with your family or took a long road trip somewhere. Or like Russell, eating ice cream on the side of the road with his dad and counting the cars that go past.
When I think of memories that I hold dear, the ones that stick out the most are the ordinary ones. The meal we made, or the cake we shared while laughing about a funny story. The walk around the neighborhood. The exciting bits of life, the grand trip or expensive wedding, those are not the memories that stick.
It is the quiet moments, the uneventful days when life is slow and peaceful and ordinary. They are the parts that make up a life.
5. Adventure is what you make it
Mr. Frederickson spends his whole life wanting to go on an adventure while not realising that his life is an adventure. Towards the end of the movie, as things go pear-shaped, he opens the adventure book- a collection of adventures he planned to take with his wife. Inside the books are pictures of their life together. Their wedding, the picnics they take, their house. His wife always said,
“Adventure is out there.”
Suddenly he realizes he has been on an adventure. His life with his wife was an adventure and he can continue the adventure on his own.
We don't need to travel the world to experience adventure. We can travel in our minds and make memories with the people we love without exploring the world and conquering a mountain.
6. Sometimes the adventure is where you least expect it
At the end of the movie, Russel receives his final adventure badge for assisting the elderly. It is the final badge in a missing row of badges.
His fellow explorers are all awarded crazy badges; like adventure mountaineering and trailblazing through deserts.
When it is his turn he looks like he has been on an adventure. He is dirty and disheveled and the instructor says with less enthusiasm,
“and for Russel for assisting the elderly.”
It does not sound nearly as glamourous as his counterparts and yet his badge brought him far more adventure then his fellow explorers. By assisting Mr. Frederickson, he had the adventure of a lifetime. He found friends and saw the world.
Adventure may be hiding where we least expect it.
In the end…
This global pandemic is one crazy time for everyone. No one expected this and no one wants this. We all want life to go back to normal. But maybe there is an adventure to be had here at home. Maybe there are experiences we can enjoy while being locked up at home. Maybe being in lockdown will teach us things and it will be a different sort of adventure. Not the one we wanted. We may come out bruised and different but also changed for the better.