For Valentine’s Day my hubby and I went to see the movie LA LA Land. If you haven’t seen it and want to, don’t read this blog. It will spoil the movie for you. I loved the movie. It really made me think about my commitment to love. In the movie, two “starving artists” find each other, fall in love, and support each other to reach their dreams.
He wants to be a famous jazz musician and own his own jazz club one day. She wants to be an actress. They struggle together and inspire each other to take risks they wouldn’t have taken on their own. And then it happens. They start to see success. It’s exhilarating, and then they realize that their relationship doesn’t really fit into their success.
First, he becomes part of a band that goes on tour. She isn’t able to get movie parts so she writes her own one-woman stage show and starts producing it. They miss each other as he is on tour and he comes home one night to surprise her. He wants to be with her so much he asks her to come on tour with him. Her debut for her show is in two weeks so she says no.
Later, she gets a big movie part and has to move to Paris for a year. He tells her she will love Paris. There are lots of jazz clubs there and she can go there and feel more at home. She leaves and he stays home to follow his dream of opening a jazz club in LA.
Five years later she has married a lovely man, is a big star, and has a beautiful daughter. One evening she and her husband are out and stumble upon a jazz club and slip inside. She sees her love on the stage and their eyes lock. He plays a song on the piano about what could have been….
I broke down crying and was overcome with a feeling of loss. And I realized something so profound it still has me entranced. We can all have everything we want, but we can’t have all of our dreams. The thing is our dreams often come from our minds. And when we are single, they are created to satisfy ourselves. Even though they may include a relationship as part of the dream, a dream created by us, about us, is all about being a “me.”
We see this in this movie. Each of them had a dream that drove them. Each pursued that dream. But when given a chance to adjust one dream to have another dream they turned their back on that opportunity. After the movie, my sweet hubby and I talked about what would have happened if it was him and me in that movie.
If he had asked me to come tour with him 2 weeks before the debut of my own show, I would have said no also. But I would probably have said it this way: “Sweetie, I have a brand new show debuting in 2 weeks. I have a lot to think about and it’s very stressful. However, after I do it the first time, I think I can plan the next one and rehearse for it on the road. I can’t come with you now, even though I want to. But can I join you after this first show?”
Dave said that if I had told him that I needed to go to Paris because I got a big part in a movie, he would not have even considered staying behind. He would have joined me and been at a French jazz club every night to learn and experience and then when we came home he’d have opened a French style jazz club in LA. I laughed and said, “Yeah, and then we’d be rich from my movie so I could fund your club in LA and you could do anything you wanted with it!”
What a different life that would be than what happened in the movie. Both of us would make concessions to support the other’s success. Both of us may not have seen success as quickly as we’d hoped, but eventually we would get there. And in the end, we’d have success and each other to share it with. That is my dream. Whatever I experience in life, I want to share it with the man I love. I don’t want to leave him behind in favor of another dream. Lucky for me, my husband feels the same way.
My husband and I have been together for 23 years. Both of us have made big concessions in order for the other to follow a dream. There have been times one or the other of us has been miserable, resentful, and unhappy. But we moved past it. And now when we look back, we may not have been able to reach all the dreams we thought we wanted, but we’ve achieved other dreams we could not have even conceived of alone. Dreams that we built and achieved together.
For instance, we’ve travelled to over 50 countries together. We’ve seen the world, experienced all kinds of different kinds of foods, people, and cultures. We’ve got amazing stories that weave together into the story of our life together. Both of us love travel, but neither one of us ever dreamed of having all those amazing adventures. Neither one of us would have done all that alone.
I think the thing we need to always consider is whether we are more interested in having ME dreams or WE dreams. I am a WE person. It doesn’t mean I don’t have my own individual dreams and ambitions. It just means that I am flexible on how to achieve those in a way that fits better in my life with my husband. I would NEVER suggest losing your own individuality and your own dreams. I do not believe in either partner ever becoming co-dependent and losing their own identity. I am simply suggesting that there are lots of different kinds of goals and dreams we can have, and if being in love is a big priority for you, then consider that when you are making your goals and pursuing your dreams.
Like I said earlier, you can have everything you want, you just can’t have all of your dreams exactly as you imagined them. So choose your dreams wisely and make sure they represent what you truly yearn for in your life. Because every single dream requires sacrifice. What are you willing to sacrifice?
I am aware that the story I described above that my husband and I would have created would not make as good a movie as the story La La Land depicted. For a movie you need drama, conflict, and emotional turmoil. In real life we tend to want more love, harmony, and joy. The problem is that many of us have created our vision of what romance and love looks like based on what we have seen on TV or in the movies. So, instead of creating the loving relationships we yearn for, we create relationships with drama, conflict, and emotional turmoil.
I will say that as humans, we do need drama in or lives. It makes life more interesting. But we don’t need that drama to be in our personal relationships. We can instead experience drama through travel, movies, and other activities. If we really want loving, long-term relationships, we should strive to keep drama out of them. We can keep Passion, Playfulness, and Joy, but we don’t need the emotional turmoil and drama. It’s like the old adage says “Good life, bad movie.”
For my part, I love having a life full of passion, joy, and love. I appreciate that my hubby and I don’t have a lot of drama in our relationship. And I love that we have been able to pursue fulfilling exciting dreams and include each other in all of them. I love being a WE and still maintaining my ME identity. And most of all I love that for 23 years I still get to experience my sweetie’s laugh, see his eyes sparkle, and fall asleep next to him every night. Each morning, as I feel him snuggled up next to me my first thoughts always are “Thank you God for my wonderful husband, and thank you for this really Good Life.”