Live the life you’ve imagined

I urge anyone who has just finished studying, or just starting to work, or have started a family, or who is simply living, to watch ‘Revolutionary Road.’

I watched ‘Revolutionary Road’ tonight.

It is a poignant show because of the many themes it touched on — themes that are not heavy in themselves but coalesce to bear such a weight on the movie. Simple themes such as career choices, looking after a family, chilling out with friends and neighbours: the things that all add up to a life — or at least the semblance of a life. Many phrases were said in the movie that struck me, two of which have the most impact. One is when April replies to someone who asks her if the reason she wants to go to Paris is because she wants ‘out’ of her current life in America, and she says: “I don’t want out. I want in.” The other is when she says these words: “Unable to stay. Unable to leave. No use to anyone.”

Throughout the film, I can’t shake off this quote in my head by John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” How true at times.

In this story, there is no revolutionary road to be taken.


When I got home, another quote came to mind as I began thinking about the movie I have just watched. The quote by Henry David Thoreau says: “Live the life you’ve imagined.” Or else we may find ourselves sitting around and wondering how our lives have turned out to become this poem by Helen Dunmore:

When You’ve Got

When you’ve got the plan of your life
Matched to the time it will take
But you just want to press SHIFT/BREAK
And print over and over
this is not what I was after
this is not what I was after.

when you’ve finally stripped out the house
with its iron-cold fireplace,
its mouldings, its mortgage,
its single-skin walls
but you want to write in the plaster
‘This is not what I was after.’

when you’ve got the rainbow-clad baby
in his state-of-the-art pushchair
but he arches his back at you
and pulps his Activity Centre
and you just want to whisper
‘This is not what I was after.’

when the vacuum seethes and whines in the lounge
and the waste-disposal unit blows,
when tenners settle in your account
like snow hitting a stove,
when you get a chat from your spouse
about marriage and personal growth,

when a wino comes to sleep in your porch
on your citizen’s Charter
and you know a hostel’s opening soon
but your headache’s closer
and you really just want to torch
the bundle of rags and newspaper

and you’ll say to the newspaper
‘This is not what we were after,
this is not what we were after.’

Live the life you’ve imagined. Are you ready?


~ by irwin on April 21, 2009.

One Response to “Live the life you’ve imagined”

  1. wow u r right Irwin..
    this came during a really busy week….
    What exactly am I living for? And why am I busy? For whom am I busy for?
    Sometimes we forget why….
    sometimes we forget to just be still, to enjoy that moment of stillness, to wait.
    And to simply be thankful for the moment…

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