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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

End Credits

You know those old western movies, where the good guys end up beating the bad guys and then the good guy rides off handsomely on his handsome horse into the sunset?  And then right then and there, the end credits start rolling and everyone can just go home from the movie theater feeling happily ever after!

I love movies.  I still watch them.  Because a great movie continues to help you think things through and reflect holistically about life.  Movies are entertainment, yes.  But just like any other type of tool, if you use it correctly, it can bring forth lots of benefits to your life.

Regarding the end credits, I sometimes wondered what happened to those main characters after they rode off into the sunset.  After the credits finish rolling, what happens in their life?  Are they just blissful and happy for the rest of eternity?  Are all their major life problems completely solved above and beyond?

The real question is, why am I even thinking so much about this at all?  After all, it’s just a movie!  But sometimes, it does apply to real life as well.  You see your co-worker get that promotion you wanted.  Or you see your friend posting his awesome birthday celebration on Instagram.  Or you see the latest social media influencer posting about this awesome vacation he took to the Bahamas with his supermodel girlfriend.  And you can’t help but feel that tingling sensation of discomfort.

And then, you start comparing your mundane existence to those one-time highlights, because you feel like that other person has got it all together in his or her life.  He or she is living large and just eternally happy.  But is that really the case?

Are we just assuming that someone’s breathtaking Instagram post of them skydiving in Hawaii is the end credit of their life?  That everything after that will be completely blissful for them?  Maybe it will.  Maybe it won’t.  Honestly, who knows?

If I were a betting man, I would say that most people in life have it good sometimes and have it bad sometimes.  I’m not exactly a wise philosopher, but I’d say that life is pretty much just ordinary for most of the people out there.  If you have your basic needs met, if you can afford food on the table and can get clean access to running water, then you already have it pretty darn good. 

David Brooks has an interesting book called The Second Mountain, where he argues for us to pursue a life of commitment.  Because when we’re young, we think solely about building our identity, getting that job we desire, making enough money, and building a stable family.  But then after we achieve all that (the first mountain so to speak), we begin to yearn for more.  We still don’t feel fulfilled.  What we thought were our end credits didn’t turn out to be the end at all.  For better or worse, more needed to be done.

So then, the so-called Second Mountain comes into play, where instead of dedicating your life to oneself, you dedicate it to a life of commitment to your community.  Because the ability to contribute to others is an invaluable way to benefit oneself as well.  I would go even further and say that even after The Second Mountain is complete, there will be another mountain down the horizon.  And then another.  And then another.

You can almost say that there are endless mountains for all of us to climb!  You see the end goal at the mountaintop in the distance.  But when you reach what you think to be the end, there is even more to do!  It’s like that never-ending story.  It will go on and on forever.

That’s why it is important to shine a bright light on the here and now whenever possible.  Yes, it’s okay sometimes to reflect on the past and to plan for the future.  But at the same time, we all really need to realize that the only moment available is right here, right now.  So, embrace the journey while you can.  Even when you are planning for let’s say retirement in a couple decades, the planning itself can be a journey to embrace, regardless of whether you end up having enough financial stability down the road. 

Or even when you’re trying to lose twenty pounds at the gym, the simple process of lifting weights and doing cardio can be a therapeutic journey, regardless of whether you end up losing those twenty pounds or not within your arbitrarily set timeline.  So, please embrace the process and the journey, not just the end-goal or the end-destination. 

When we go through an event that we label to be great or terrible, that is not the end credit.  When we succeed or when we fail, that is not the end of our story.  There is more to our stories.  Our life movie will continue to roll, and it will be up to us to make whatever meaning we deem to be worthy out of it. 

And on and on it goes.

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